Boston Beer Company

Boston Beer Company

Infobox Brewery
name = Boston Beer Co. (Sam Adams)

caption =
location = Boston, MA United States (Administrative Offices) Cincinnati, Ohio (Brewery and main office)

owner = Publicly owned (nyse|SAM)
opened = 1985
production = 159,358,000 Liters (1,358,000 barrels)
The Boston Beer Company (nyse2|SAM) is an American brewing company founded in 1985 by Jim Koch in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. The beers were originally contract brewed by the Pittsburgh Brewing Company, though today, more than 60% of its beer is produced at the company's Cincinnati brewery. The brand name for the beers is "Samuel Adams" (often abbreviated to Sam Adams, even in advertisements), after Samuel Adams, a brewer [ [ The Congressional biography of Samuel Adams] ] and an American patriot famous for his role in the American Revolution.

History of the brand

The Samuel Adams brand began with Samuel Adams Boston Lager. The original recipe was developed in 1860 in St. Louis, Missouri by Louis Koch, who sold under the name Louis Koch Lager until Prohibition, and again until the early 1950s.

In 1985, the recipe was reformulated by Louis Koch's great-great grandson, Jim Koch, with the help of Joseph Owades, the man credited with the invention of light beer in the 1970s. That April, 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 the United States 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 company's success occurred as the U.S. craft brewery movement was exploding. By 1995, some 600 craft breweries were producing specialty 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 SAM. Despite the appearance of competitors, the firm remained the largest craft brewer in the United States with nearly 141 million liters (1.2 million barrels) sold in 1996. Sales leveled off after that, and Boston Beer tried to continue its growth by offering alternative beverages, such as Hardcore Cider (1997), and Twisted Tea (2000).

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. Today, more than 60% of its beer is produced at its very own, newly renovated, Cincinnati brewery. One-third of Samuel Adams beer is still produced under contract at breweries in Rochester, NY and Eden, NC. According to the Company, its own employees, ingredients, and brewing processes are utilized at these contract sites. 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.

Samuel Adams Boston Lager was voted "Best Beer in America" by fest-goers at the Association of Brewers' "Great American Beer Festival" several times in the mid to late 1980s, although that award was mired in controversies surrounding accusations of ballot-stuffing. The award was later cut from the Great American Beer Festival as a result of the controversy.

With Anheuser-Busch's decision on July 13, 2008 to merge with Belgian-Brazilian giant InBev, The Boston Beer Company is slated to become the largest American-owned brewery in the United States [] .

Other Boston Beer Company brands

As of 2007, the company produces twelve varieties of beer year-round: Boston Lager, Sam Adams Light, Boston Ale, Pale Ale, Cherry Wheat, Cream Stout, Brown Ale, Hefeweizen, Scotch Ale, Black Lager, Honey Porter, and Irish Red. The Sam Adams Boston Lager contains 4.9% abv, roughly average for its style. Other styles have pushed the physical limits of alcohol content for the brewing process - in 2003 one batch of Utopias contained 25.6% abv, beating the records that Samuel Adams Triple Bock and Samuel Adams Millennium had set before it.

Additionally, the company brews five seasonal beers per year, as follows:

* White Ale (January - March)
* Double Bock (March- April)
* Summer Ale (April - August)
* Octoberfest (August - November)
* Winter Lager (November - January)

Samuel Adams also runs a "Winter Classics Mix Pack" near the Christmas Season, consisting of Old Fezziwig Ale, a spiced ale introduced in 1995; Holiday Porter, which is very dark but smooth, introduced in 2004; and Cranberry Lambic, which tastes like cranberries, but is not actually a Lambic-style beer.

The company has also produced several limited-run "Extreme Beers", which are meant to be enjoyed more in the manner of an aperitif or cordial rather than a beer. These include Millennium, Utopias, Triple Bock, and Chocolate Bock. Due to the extremely high alcohol volume in these brews (as high as 25% for the Utopias), their sale is restricted by several states.In November 2005, the brewery continued extreme brewing innovation by releasing a limited release (60,000 units) "Imperial Pilsner Harvest '05" brew.

As of 2008, the Sam Adams brand had 20 styles of beer available in 12 oz. bottles - Boston Lager, Light, Double Bock, White Ale, Summer Ale, Octoberfest, Winter Lager, Old Fezziwig Ale, Cranberry Lambic, Holiday Porter, Boston Ale, Cherry Wheat, Cream Stout, Scotch Ale, Black Lager, Brown Ale, Hefeweizen, Pale Ale, Honey Porter, and Irish Red. One of the most recent of these is Samuel Adams Octoberfest, which won a gold medal in the Marzen category at the 2006 Great American Beer Festival. Samuel Adams Irish Red is the most recent beer to be added to the list and was released in 2008.

Five Samuel Adams products are available on draft towers across the country. Boston Lager, with its trademark blue-flame tap handle, is the most widely distributed Samuel Adams draft. However, the seasonal draft line up of White Ale, Summer Ale, Octoberfest and Winter Lager, grows in popularity each year. Also available from the keg in select locations (mostly airports) are Boston Ale, Hefeweizen, Cherry Wheat and Black Lager.

In summer 2006, Sam Adams released a limited-run Brewer Patriot collection that included four beers which "honor the fine American Brewing Tradition of our founding fathers."

The Brewer Patriot collection included:

* Traditional Ginger Honey Ale
* James Madison Dark Wheat Ale
* George Washington Porter
* 1790 Root Beer Brew

The Boston Beer Company also produces Twisted Tea hard iced tea and HardCore hard apple cider, which are intentionally separate from the Samuel Adams brand.


Samuel Adams Utopias, which went on sale in February 2002, was claimed to be the strongest commercial beer in the world, at 27% alcohol by volume. The beer was stronger than Millennium, a single release brew made by Sam Adams in 1999, at 21% alcohol.

Utopias are made with caramel, Vienna, Moravian and Bavarian smoked malts, and all four varieties of noble hops: "Hallertauer Mittelfrüh", "Tettnanger", "Spalter", and "Saaz". The beer is aged in scotch, cognac and port barrels for the better part of a year. It is described as having a "distinctive smell of cinnamon and vanilla with subtle hints of floral, citrus and pine."Fact|date=October 2007

The beer was packaged in a copper-finished kettle designed to resemble those used in the brewing process. 8,000 twenty-four-ounce bottles of Utopias were produced in all, with a suggested price of US$100 a bottle. The beer is considered by some to be more comparable to brandy or sherry than to other beers.

Due to legal restrictions, Samuel Adams Utopias are not offered in the states of Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington, or West Virginia [ [ Samuel Adams – America’s World Class Beer ] ] .

Utopias are still being made and have been released in 2002, 2005, and 2007. Samuel Adams produced just 12,000 bottles for the 2007 holiday season, [cite web
title = The 48 proof beer
work = Beer Break Vol. 2, No. 19
publisher = Real Beer Media, Inc.
url =
accessdate = 2007-07-22
] [cite web
last = DellaSala
first = Steve
title = Sam Adams Utopias - Strongest Beer in the World
work = Audioholics
url =
accessdate = 2007-07-22
] and plans to release the next Utopias in late 2009.


Five years after the Company's "Sex for Sam" promotion on WNEW's Opie and Anthony show, the company again found itself under scrutiny. In October 2007, in an incident referred to by the Wall Street Journal as, "Sam Adams v. Sam Adams," [ [ Law Blog - : Trademark Dispute Of the Day: Sam Adams v. Sam Adams ] ] the Boston Beer Company demanded control of the domain names," and “" be turned over to the company. [ Willamette Week | Tuesday, March 25th, 2008 ] ] 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, the company expressed concern that consumers might confuse the mayoral candidate with their beer. In an interview with the Associated Press [ [ Sam Adams brewer takes on Sam Adams, Portland mayoral candidate; dispute brews - International Herald Tribune ] ] , 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."

New Brewery

According to the company's 2006 Annual Report, a possible new brewery in Assonet, Massachusetts, which it estimates would cost between $170 and $210 million, is under consideration. In April 2007, Boston Beer Co. announced that it would begin brewing beer at the City Brewing Company Latrobe facility in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, the facility formerly used to brew Rolling Rock beer. [ [ Samuel Adams comes calling on Latrobe brewer ] ]

According to a December 2006 article from, the once proposed Assonet site is still being considered for a brewery location. The facility would be built in the Campanelli Business Park and would cost an estimated $200 million. The new brewery is also estimated to produce 82 million liters (700,000 barrels) to 117 million liters (1 million barrels) of beer.

On August 2, 2007, it was announced that an existing brewery will be bought in Breinigsville, Pennsylvania. [ [ Freetown's Sam Adams deal goes flat ] ]

2008 recall

In April 2008, the Boston Beer Company issued its first recall, due to defects found in certain 12-ounce 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. [cite web|url= |title=Samuel Adams beer maker issues recall due to glass in bottles |accessdate=2008-04-09 |author=Donna Goodison |date=2008-04-07 |work=Boston Herald] News of the recall led to shares of the company dropping by over 3%. [cite web|url= |title=Shares of Boston Beer sink after recall |accessdate=2008-04-09 |author=Associated Press |date=2008-04-07 |]


External links

* [ Samuel Adams - Official Website]
* [ Boston Beer Company Website]
* [ The Boston Beer Company Financial Information from Yahoo!]

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