Referred to as ‘loopy’ by his father, he created a craft beer firm with income of $ 2 billion
- October 19, 2022
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The initial idea was much more modest: to have a few employees, to be a local brewery and to have an annual revenue of US$ 1.2 million.
The movement of resumption of the craft beer market in the United States is credited to one name, Jim Koch, the founder of Samuel Adams, a subsidiary of the Boston Beer Company.
In 1984, then 34, he quit a six-figure job at the Boston Consulting Group, was called ‘crazy’ by his father and decided to resume the family tradition of master brewers in his home kitchen.
At that time, small breweries were losing ground to large conglomerates. His own father reminded him of this reality, to which he replied that he did not intend to compete with these companies.
The initial idea was much more modest. Having a few employees, being a local brewery and having an annual revenue of $1.2 million. After 38 years, the company has 2,500 employees, annual revenue exceeding US$ 2 billion and shareholders’ equity of R$ 4.2 billion.
Despite being celebrated as a pioneer of the artisanal revival movement, Koch is modest in acknowledging what he has achieved.
“Sam Adams is less than 1% of the US beer business. So the reality is, after 38 very successful years, we’ve basically gone from infinitesimal to tiny,” he told CNBC Make It.
what is the trajectory
When he decided to undertake the craft beer market, Koch had as a central question being rich, staying in the career where he was, or being happy, investing in something he liked and that was part of his family history.
“If you’d rather be rich than happy, you’re a sociopath,” he says. “And I wasn’t a sociopath. I chose to be happy.”
He says that there was no successful craft brewery at that time and being able to move forward with Samuel Adams, a tribute to Samuel Adams, one of the founders of the United States, establishing a successful model seemed like “destiny”.
Starting with the beginning of the company, which relied on an old family recipe, developed by Jim’s great-great-grandfather, Louis Koch, and dating back to the 1860s.
The father, despite his son’s decision, decided to pass on the formula for what would become the basis for Samuel Adams Boston Lager.
How the company grew
With the beer produced, Koch began to offer it in bars and restaurants in the region. And, despite the large groups that dominated distribution and consumption, Samuel Adams managed to pierce the bubble and be elected the best beer in the USA at the Great American Beer Festival, in the first year of launch.
The achievement would also be repeated in 1986 and 1987, confirming the initial idea behind Koch’s decision, which was. “I can make the best glass of beer available to the beer drinker in the United States. There has to be a market for it,” he stated in an interview with CNBC.
In 1995, the company made its IPO, with shares priced at $20 dollars. And today, in addition to Samuel Adams, it brings together other brands such as Angry Orchard, Twisted Tea and Truly Hard Seltzer. Boston Beer currently ranks ninth as the largest brewer in sales volume, according to America Craft beer.
How did you face the dilemma?
At the age of 73, Koch serves as the company’s chairman and maintains a 60-hour workweek. He says he spends most of his time out of the office, in direct contact with retailers, consumers, distributors and his own team.
“It is invaluable for making good fundamental decisions. Essentially, that’s my job – to make good decisions for the company – and I’ve learned that I can’t do that sitting in an office,” she says.
In his memoir, “Quench Your Own Thirst: Business Lessons Learned Over a Beer or Two,” Koch wrote: “Do what you think will make you happy rather than what will make you rich.”
Owner of an estimated fortune of US$ 1.6 billion, according to Forbes, he seems to have managed to combine wealth and happiness.