- Samuel Adams was one of the first craft beer brands in the United States when it was launched in 1984.
- Samuel Adams founder, Jim Koch, started the beer’s parent company, Boston Beer Company, to give Americans an alternative to mass-produced beers, like Budweiser and Coors.
- The number of craft brewers have grown near 500% compared to that 20 years ago. Around 6,266 craft breweries were in operation in 2017.
- But the success of craft beer can also bring on new challenges for brewers, like an overcrowded market.
Following is a transcription of the video.
Narrator: It’s no surprise, Americans love beer.
The Boston Beer Company was one of the first to introduce craft beer when it opened in 1984 with Samuel Adams.
But with more and more craft breweries popping up by the hundreds each year, the Boston beer has more competition than ever.
Roughly 6,266 craft breweries were in operation in 2017. That's up from just 1,300 craft brewers 20 years ago.
Bartender Billy Ritchie says he sees a lot of his customers, especially young people, spending on smaller breweries over big brand beers.
Billy Ritchie: I think the biggest reason craft breweries have exploded over the last five to 10 years is that people like to try new things. People like to explore new styles of beer. People want new styles of new things. I think people like to branch out. I also think there's a big push of the younger generation to support smaller businesses, to support local businesses. And people that are kind of fighting to make their name. It's easy to get behind, and it's good beer.
Narrator: Jim Koch started the Boston Beer Company to give Americans an alternative to mass-produced beers, like Budweiser and Coors.
Jim Koch: My Dad was a brewmaster, my grandfather, my great-grandfather, my great-great-grandfather, etc. I've been fortunate enough to kind of have a front row seat and be a part of energizing this whole craft beer revolution.
Narrator: The Boston Beer Company produced just under four million barrels in 2017, and many of those are new inventions.
Jim Koch: In a normal year, we will probably brew between 150 and 200 new beers. Now some of them are just trials with, "Well let's try a different hops in this beer, or let's see what the mall crop this year is." And then others are really, "Hey, I think we should do a new beer."
Narrator: But the success of craft beer can also bring on new challenges for brewers.
California-based Lagunitas Brewing Co. announced it would be laying off 12% of its workforce due to pressures from a crowded craft beer market.
Despite the challenge from competition, it was always Jim Koch's hope for Americans to have better variety in beer. That's why he first introduced the original Samuel Adams Boston lager.
Jim Koch: From my point of view, that's what I wanted to see 34 years ago. I wanted America to be this place where there were breweries everywhere and they were all making great beer. And so that does make a more competitive marketplace. But you know, it just challenges you. You got to get better. That's okay. That's exciting.
Narrator: What's your secret to success?
Jim Koch: Dumb luck.
Narrator: Dumb luck? Cheers to that.
Jim Koch: I had no idea when I started that Samuel Adams would be this successful.