Sam Adams is a beer recognized nationally for its reputation, as well as its seasonal classics such as Oktoberfest. From their advertising alone, we’ve been aware that the people behind this brand do things a little differently, and we like it that way. What we didn’t know was how great the brands brewers really were. Jim Koch, co-founder and chairman of Boston Beer Co., the company that produces Sam Adams, who’s also the creator of Sam Adam’s Boston Lager, knows the commercial game for beers has been changing, but sees no reason to follow the trend.
While other companies focus on marketing tools to help them sell their product, such as provoking conversation about the aging process of any given brewing company, Koch sees Sam Adams in a different light; a light that he intends to cast for a long while.
“It’s very clear when we talk to people that . . . it’s a very meaningful thing to be an original; to be authentic and to stay independent,” Koch said in an interview with The Globe And Mail.
Over the last couple of years, the epidemic of craft beers has struck the beer industry, attempting to push out the mega breweries such as those that produce Budweiser, Bud Light, and Sam Adams.
Craft beer, as defined by the Brewer’s Association in Boulder, Colorado, is any beer made by a small, independent and traditional brewery. Over the last year alone, the number of breweries in the United States grew 15 percent to 4,269 breweries according to the Brewers Association.
Rather than taking on the craft beer creators by stooping to their level of commercialism, Koch is sticking to Boston Beer’s roots, and letting the traditionalistic approach of his own life do all the talking.
Since the beginning of time, Koch had been immersed in the world of breweries, as his great grandfather opened a brewery next door to Adolphus Busch, the co-founder of Budweiser and maker of Anheuser-Busch, which got taken over by an even larger corporation. This is a funny note to Koch, who jokes regularly about them getting swallowed under, while Sam Adams and Boston Beer Co. stand firmly on their own.
Though the original brewery was in St. Louis, it has since moved east to Boston. The generations to come after his great grandfather were those who would become the brewmasters. Though his father begged him to go a different route, Koch was determined to become a brewer.
Koch told The Globe and Mail, “He thought you can’t compete with the big guys . . . we had a different vision. I’m not going to compete with the big guys . . . I’m going to make beer for the 1 percent that wants something different.”
Since his immersion into the life of a brewer, Koch had utilized the marketing tactics from the wine industry, emphasizing on the history behind the ingredients themselves.
He also offered training classes on the brewing process to bartenders and waiters, and even brought the ingredients of his products to bars for customers to physically touch—something the mega breweries have now adopted, as well.
In the meantime, Koch has become the face of the brand, his brand, appearing in ads and immersing himself into the behind-the-scenes tactics of the entire company, as to put a mark of family and oneness over it as a whole.
He oversees the brewing, and showcases the importance of freshness, avoiding the, “babes in bikinis” ads, as he says, all in the valiant effort to stay true to himself, the brand, and the right way to brew beer.