Samuel Adams (Boston Beer Company)

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Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Public (NYSESAM)
Industry Alcoholic beverage
Founded 1984
Founder Jim Koch, Rhonda Kallman, Harry M. Rubin, Lorenzo Lamadrid[1][2][3]
Headquarters Boston, MA (Administrative Offices and Brewery)
Key people
C. James Koch
Martin F. Roper
President and Chief Executive Officer
William F. Urich
Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer
Thomas W. Lance
Vice President of Operations
John C. Geist
Vice President of Sales
David L. Grinnell
Vice President of Brewing
Products Beer
Production output
4.1 million US beer barrels (4,800,000 hL) in 2014[4]
Revenue IncreaseUS$793.705M (FY 2013)[5]
IncreaseUS$113.093M (FY 2013)[5]
Profit IncreaseUS$070.392M (FY 2013)[5]
Total assets IncreaseUS$444.075M (FY 2013)[5]
Total equity IncreaseUS$302.085M (FY 2013)[5]
Number of employees
1,325 (December 27, 2014)[5]

Samuel Adams is the brand name for beers produced by the Boston Beer Company (NYSESAM) and its associated contract brewers. The brand name of Samuel Adams (often abbreviated to Sam Adams), was chosen in honor of Founding Father Samuel Adams, an American revolutionary patriot who authored the Massachusetts Circular Letter and the Boston Pamphlet, co-inspired and later publicized the Boston Tea Party, and who signed the Continental Association, the Declaration of Independence, and the Articles of Confederation, and also a second cousin to president John Adams. According to tradition, Adams was also a maltster.[6]

Based on sales in 2011, the Boston Beer Company is tied with Yuengling for the largest American-owned beermaker.[7]


The Samuel Adams brand began in 1984 with Samuel Adams Lager, a 4.8% abv amber or Vienna lager.[8] Jim Koch, the sixth-generation, first-born son to follow in his family's brewing footsteps, brewed his first batch of the beer in his kitchen, using the original family recipe for Louis Koch Lager.[9] At the time, Koch was working at Boston Consulting Group after receiving BA, MBA and JD degrees from Harvard University. At Harvard, Koch met Harry Rubin and Lorenzo Lamadrid. Both Rubin and Lamadrid were graduates of Harvard Business School. In December 1984, Koch left his career at Boston Consulting Group and along with Rubin and Lamadrid, founded the Samuel Adams brewery. As co-owners, Koch, Rubin, and Lamadrid played different roles.[1][2][3] Shortly thereafter, they optimized the recipe with the help of Joseph Owades, the man credited with the invention of light beer in the 1970s.

The brewery was named after the Boston patriot Samuel Adams, who fought for American independence, and who also had inherited a brewing tradition from his father.[3] In March 1985, the beer was re-introduced as Samuel Adams Boston Lager, at the re-creation of the first battle of the American Revolution on Patriot's Day. Three months later, it was voted "Best Beer in America" at the Great American Beer Festival, in which 93 national and regional beers competed. The publicity that followed helped the Boston Beer Company's sales grow to 7,393,000 liters (63,000 barrels) in 1989. The beer was first put on tap at Doyle's Cafe in Jamaica Plain.

The brand was first produced under contract by the Pittsburgh Brewing Company, best known for their Iron City brand of beer. Over the years, the brand has been produced under contract at various brewing facilities with excess capacity, ranging from Stroh breweries, Portland's original Blitz-Weinhard brewery (shuttered in 1999), Cincinnati's Hudepohl-Schoenling brewery (eventually purchased by the Boston Beer Company in early 1997), and industry giant SABMiller. The Boston Beer Company also has a small R&D brewery located in Boston (Jamaica Plain), Massachusetts, where public tours and beer tastings are offered. The brewery occupies part of the premises of the old Haffenreffer Brewery.[10][11]

In the mid-1990s, Jim Koch returned to his hometown of Cincinnati to purchase the Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewery, where his father apprenticed in the 1940s. This was also one of the first steps the company took to reduce reliance on contract brewing.

Brew kettles at the Samuel Adams Boston Brewery

The company's success occurred in conjunction with the U.S. craft beer movement. By 1995, some 600 independent breweries were producing speciality beers in the United States. That year, The Boston Beer Company went public, selling shares of Class A Common Stock on the New York Stock Exchange, under the ticker symbol, "SAM". These shares, however, have minimal voting rights. Instead, the company is controlled through its Class B Common Stock, of which Koch owns 100% of the shares.[12] Boston Beer launched Hardcore Cider in 1997, and Twisted Tea brand in 2000. In 2012 Boston Beer Company launched Angry Orchard hard cider company based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Brewers Association — the trade association representing small and independent American craft brewers — list the Boston Beer Company #1 on their top 50 craft and overall brewing companies in the U.S., based on beer sales volume and the craft brewer definition in 2013.[13]

The company has 1,325 employees in its Boston, Cincinnati and Breinigsville, Pennsylvania breweries.[5]


Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Following Jim Koch’s great-great grandfather’s recipe, Samuel Adams continued to use traditional brewing processes, including decoction mash (a four vessel process) and krausening (a secondary fermentation), which allows the ingredients in Samuel Adams Boston Lager to come together and form layers of complex flavor. Boston Lager is also dry hopped using the Hallertau Mittelfrueh hops for an enhanced hop signature in the aroma and finish.[14]

Samuel Adams Rebel IPA

First brewed in 2014, Samuel Adams Rebel IPA is a West Coast style India Pale Ale. The beer is brewed with five American hops - American Cascade, Simcoe, Chinook, Centennial, and Amarillo.[15] In early 2015, Samuel Adams released Rebel Rouser, a double India Pale Ale, and Rebel Rider, a session India Pale Ale.

Sam Adams Light

Introduced in 2001 to replace Sam Adams Lightship which was introduced in 1993, Sam Adams Light is a lighter version of Samuel Adams Boston Lager.[16]

Samuel Adams Barrel Room Collection

These beers are left in wood barrels for a period of time to pick up some of the flavours of the wood.[17]

  • Samuel Adams American Kriek
  • Samuel Adams New World
  • Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red
  • Samuel Adams Thirteenth Hour
  • Samuel Adams Tetravis
Samuel Adams Utopias
A Samuel Adams Utopias beer bottle

In 1999, the Boston Beer Company produced Millennium, a single release strong beer with an alcoholic content of 21% by volume (abv). The company followed this up in 2002 with Utopias; at 24% abv, it was marketed as the strongest commercial beer in the world (a mark that has since been surpassed). The company subsequently released new "vintages" of Utopias annually, increasing the alcoholic content to 27% abv by 2007.

Utopias is made with caramel, Vienna, Moravian and Bavarian smoked malts, and four varieties of noble hops: Hallertauer Mittelfrüh, Tettnanger, Spalter, and Saaz hops. The beer is matured in scotch, cognac and port barrels for the better part of a year. A limited number of bottles are released each year; in 2007, only 12,000 bottles were produced, and in 2009, only 9,000 bottles were released.[18][19] Sold in a ceramic bottle resembling a copper-finished brewing kettle, a single bottle of Utopias cost $100 in 2002, and $150 in 2009.

Because of legal restrictions, Utopias is not offered in the states of Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Vermont, or West Virginia.[20]

Triple Bock

Triple Bock was released in 1994, 1995, and 1997. It has a black, opaque color, no carbonation, and at 17.5% ABV was the strongest beer brewed when it was introduced.[citation needed] Maple syrup was added in the brewing process. Triple Bock was a "forerunner" of later strong beers from Samuel Adams — Millennium (21% ABV released in 1999 only), and Utopias (24–26% ABV first released in 2002).

Seasonal beers[edit]

Spring (February–April)

Summer (May–August)

Autumn (August–October)

Winter/Holiday (November–January)

  • Winter Lager - a Bock
  • White Christmas - an Ale

Seasonal variety packs[edit]

Samuel Adams Seasonal Collection (January–March)

  • Boston Lager
  • Cold Snap
  • Escape Route
  • Crystal Pale Ale (new for 2015)

Samuel Adams Beers of Summer (March–August)

  • Boston Lager
  • Summer Ale
  • Downtime Pilsner (new for 2015)
  • Rebel Rider IPA

Samuel Adams Fall Variety (August–October)

  • Boston Lager
  • OctoberFest
  • Harvest Pumpkin Ale
  • Hoppy Red (new for 2015)

Samuel Adams Winter Favorites (November–December)

  • Boston Lager
  • Winter Lager
  • White Christmas
  • Old Fezziwig Ale

Hard Cider[edit]

  • Crisp Apple
  • Traditional Dry
  • Apple Ginger
  • Green Apple
  • Hop'n Mad Apple
  • Stone Dry


  • Cinnful Apple (Fall/Winter)
  • Summer Honey (Spring/Summer)

Cider House

  • Strawman
  • Iceman
  • The Muse

Variety Pack

  • Crisp Apple
  • Apple Ginger
  • Green Apple
  • Seasonal

Weihenstephan partnership[edit]

In October 2009, the Boston Beer Company announced a two-year project with German brewery Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan to jointly produce a new craft beer named Infinium, to be marketed in both Germany and the U.S. The brewers describe the beer, which is sold in corked bottles and has alcohol content of 10.3% abv, as a Champagne-like "crisp pale brew".[21][22] Approximately 15,000 cases were released in North America in December 2010 at a suggested retail price of $20 per 750 mL bottle,[23] Marketed towards drinkers who would rather toast with beer than Champagne on New Years Eve, Infinium is described by the brewers as "the first new beer style created under the Reinheitsgebot in over a hundred years."[24]


Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream[edit]

In June 2008, Jim Koch decided to create a philanthropic program.[citation needed] The company has distributed more than $3 million in capital[citation needed] to more than 350 small food and beverage businesses nationwide enabling them to create or retain more than 2,100 local jobs. The company has also coached more than 5,000 small business owners at various "speed coaching" events.[25]

2008 hops shortage[edit]

In early 2008, amidst a worldwide shortage of hops—a key ingredient in beer—Boston Beer Company agreed to sell 20,000 pounds of its hops, at cost, to craft brewers throughout the United States. The company selected 108 craft brewers to divide the 20,000 pounds they had spare.[26]

Samuel Adams shared their hops again in June 2012.[27]

LongShot American Homebrew Competition[edit]

Created in 1996, the Samuel Adams LongShot American Homebrew Competition is an annual competition among amateur homebrewers. Homebrewers submit their brew to a series of judging and taste tests with the chance to see their creation in larger-scale production and sold on store shelves as part of a Samuel Adams mixed 6-pack the following year.[28]

New breweries[edit]

In 2007, Samuel Adams considered building a new brewery in Freetown, Massachusetts, but in August 2007 announced that the company would instead purchase the former F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Company brewery in Breinigsville, Pennsylvania, in the Lehigh Valley.[29][30] The brewery had been owned by Diageo North America, Inc. and used for the production of Smirnoff Ice malt beverages since 2001.[30] By 2012, Samuel Adams was producing two-thirds of all its beer at the Breinigsville facility, and it has increased brewing capacity there.[30]


Since 1990 the company has produced a seasonal fruit beer labelled "Cranberry Lambic". Because "Lambic" describes a spontaneously fermented beer generally produced in Brussels or the nearby Pajottenland region,[31] and the Samuel Adams product is not spontaneously fermented, consumers and brewers charged that "Cranberry Lambic" is mislabeled[32] and could cause consumer confusion. (Michael Jackson, a leading beer critic, called it "a misleading name".[33]) Grant Wood, Senior Brewing Manager at Boston Brewing, defended the name, saying, "I wouldn't consider it mislabeling. Whenever I have served the Cranberry Lambic, I have always been really up front about it. Is it a true lambic made in that region in Belgium? No. Does it taste like one? Yes. So it's sort of our homage to the style without the pain and agony of it."[32]

In 2000–2002, the company sponsored a radio promotion called "Sex for Sam", in which WNEW radio hosts Opie and Anthony encouraged couples from various states to have sex in notable public places in New York City. On August 15, 2002, a Virginia couple was charged with public lewdness after attempting to have sex in a vestibule at St. Patrick's Cathedral; this led to the firing of the radio hosts a week later.

In October 2007, in an incident referred to by the Wall Street Journal as "Sam Adams v. Sam Adams,"[34] the Boston Beer Company demanded that control of the domain names "" and "" be turned over to the company.[35] The domains had been purchased by Portland, Oregon radio station NewsRadio 1190 KEX for the campaign of Portland mayoral candidate, Sam Adams. In a cease-and-desist letter,[35] the company expressed concern that consumers might confuse the mayoral candidate with their beer. In an interview with the Associated Press[36] the company said it was willing to discuss Adams' use of his name on his Web sites, "probably for the length of the time the election is being held."

In April 2008, the Boston Beer Company issued its first recall, because of defects found in certain 12-US-fluid-ounce (350 ml) glass bottles manufactured by a third-party supplier which supplies about a quarter of the bottles the Boston Beer Company uses. The Boston Beer Company stated that they believed fewer than 1% of bottles from the supplier could contain small pieces of glass and issued a recall for the safety of consumers. There were no reports of injuries.[37] News of the recall led to shares of the company dropping by over 3%.[38]

On July 4, 2013, a video commercial for Sam Adams beer was rolled out on the July 4th holiday which created controversy over an omitted phrase. The manufacturer decided to leave out "endowed by their creator" in its invocation of the Declaration of Independence which outraged critics. But Sam Adams said they were just following trade association rules. The company said in a statement: "The Beer Institute Advertising Code says, 'Beer advertising and marketing materials should not include religion or religious themes.' We agree with that and try to adhere to these guidelines."[39]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b cbs,cin Top 5 Things You Didn't Know About the History of Boston's Craft Beer Revolution
  2. ^ a b "Harry Rubin". Forbes. 
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^ "Boston Beer Reports Fourth Quarter 2014 Results" (Press release). Boston: Boston Beer Company. PR Newswire. 2015-02-24. Retrieved 2015-10-17. Core shipment volume was approximately 4.1 million barrels, a 20% increase from the comparable 52-week period in 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Form 10-K". Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  6. ^ Most historical evidence suggests that Adams worked as a maltster and not a brewer; Stanley Baron, Brewed in America: The History of Beer and Ale in the United States (Boston: Little, Brown, 1962), pp. 74–75. However, Ira Stoll in Samuel Adams: A Life (New York: Free Press, 2008; ISBN 978-0-7432-9911-4; ISBN 0-7432-9911-6), p. 275n16, notes that James Koch, founder of the Boston Beer Company, reports having seen a receipt for hops signed by Adams, which indicates that Adams may have done some brewing.
  7. ^ "Boston Beer Company ties Yuengling for Largest" Accessed April 26, 2012.
  8. ^ "Samuel Adams Boston Lager". 
  9. ^ Rick Armon (2011). Ohio Breweries. Stackpole Books. p. 12. 
  10. ^ "Former Haffenreffer Brewery - Ghost Signs on". Retrieved 2009-08-23. 
  11. ^ McConville, Christine (2006-02-17). "The toast of JP - The Boston Globe". Retrieved 2009-08-23. 
  12. ^ "Boston Beer 2013 Annual Report". Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  14. ^ "Samuel Adams Boston Lager". November 19, 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-11. 
  15. ^ "Samuel Adams Rebel IPA". November 19, 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-11. 
  16. ^ "Sam Adams Light". November 19, 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-11. 
  17. ^ "Barrel Room Collection". November 19, 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-11. 
  18. ^ "The 48 proof beer". Beer Break Vol. 2, No. 19. Real Beer Media, Inc. 2002-02-14. Retrieved 2007-07-22. 
  19. ^ DellaSala, Steve (2007-01-31). "Sam Adams Utopias - Strongest Beer in the World". Audioholics. Retrieved 2007-07-22. 
  20. ^ "Samuel Adams – America’s World Class Beer". Boston Beer Company. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Bort, Scott (2010-12-12). "Infinium Ale from Samuel Adams and Weihenstephan". Post-Tribune (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Sun Media). Retrieved 2010-12-16. 
  24. ^ Batz, Bob (2010-12-16). "What I'm Drinking: Bubbly beer". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh PA). Retrieved 2010-12-16. 
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Freetown's Sam Adams deal goes flat". South Coast Today. August 3, 2007. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  30. ^ a b c "Samuel Adams surging in Breinigsville". The Morning Call, Allentown, Pennsylvania. March 14, 2015. Retrieved 2015-07-23. 
  31. ^ Jackson, Michael (2008). Michael Jackson's Great Beers of Belgium, 6th edition. Boulder, Colorado: Brewers Publications. ISBN 978-0-937381-93-9. 
  32. ^ a b Crouch, Andy (May 2002). "Labels". Beverage Magazine. Retrieved 2010-11-22. 
  33. ^ Jackson, Michael (1997). Michael Jackson's Beer Companion. New York: Running Press Book Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7624-0201-4. 
  34. ^ Lattman, Peter (October 25, 2007). "Trademark Dispute Of the Day: Sam Adams v. Sam Adams". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  35. ^ a b "Your Daily Dose of Sam". Willamette Week. October 23, 2007. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  36. ^ "Sam Adams brewer takes on Sam Adams, Portland mayoral candidate; dispute brews". International Herald Tribune. October 25, 2007. Retrieved 2009-02-02. ,
  37. ^ Donna Goodison (2008-04-07). "Samuel Adams beer maker issues recall due to glass in bottles". Boston Herald. Retrieved 2008-04-09. 
  38. ^ Associated Press (2008-04-07). "Shares of Boston Beer sink after recall". Retrieved 2008-04-09. 
  39. ^[dead link]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°18′52″N 71°06′11″W / 42.3145°N 71.1030°W / 42.3145; -71.1030