Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Sam Adams founder preparing for the Big Leagues


beer1.jpgWhen Jim Koch decided to start making Sam Adams beer in 1984, he raised $140,000 from friends and family, pooled that with $100,000 of his own money, and set a target. Within 5 years his Boston-based brewery would cook up 8,000 barrels of beer a year.

Twenty-four years and a stock IPO later, Boston Beer Co is selling nearly 2 million barrels of beer a year and is poised to become the largest U.S.-owned brewer. Assuming InBev’s takeover of Anheuser-Busch goes through.

When the St. Louis-based brewer of Budweiser falls into foreign hands, it will be the third of the big U.S. beers to do so, following Miller‘s combination with South African Breweries and Coors’ tie-up with Canada’s Molson Inc.  

The Anheuser buyout puts Boston Beer in a bizarre situation.

“Like your kid’s Little League team winning the World Series because nobody else showed up,” Koch said. ”Anheuser-Busch spills more beer than we make.”