Drink

Samuel Adams: an interview with Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Company

So big it's hard to think of them as a craft brewery

Jim Koch comes from a long line of brewers dating back to 1800’s. Somewhere down the line the family craft was left behind, until Jim realized that beer drinkers were looking for an experience that water-downed pilsners couldn’t provide.

Boston Beer Co.

30 Germania St.
Boston, MA 02130

Website

In 1985, after resurrecting his great-great grandfather’s recipe in his kitchen and bringing it on the market for six weeks, Samuel Adams Boston Lager® wins First Place at the Great American Beer Festival under the Consumer Preference Poll category.

Our host Jace Milstead met briefly with Jim for an interview. Read the highlights and see the full video interview.

Forward thinker

I'm not that interested in the past. What excites me is the future and what hasn't been done yet. 

- Jim Koch
Samuel Adams has won a lot of medals. Jace asked about the all the prior awards and recognitions and if Jim ever just soaked in all that he’s accomplished. Surprisingly, or maybe not, he didn’t, “I’m not that interested in the past. What excites me is the future and what hasn’t been done yet.”

Jim is an experimenter and explorer in this sense. “What I’m excited about is all the cool things that we haven’t yet done.”

Innovator

Of course, to be forward thinking you have to constantly be focused on innovation, “we’ve been innovating, creating new beers, pushing the boundaries, operating new brewing techniques, that’s what I get up everyday to do. I’d get bored if I had to do the same ol’ same ol’.”

I’d get bored if I had to do the same ol’ same ol’. 

- Jim Koch
Jim is constantly trying new techniques, starting a barrel aged process in 1993 and crafting new styles of beer all the time. New flavor experimentations can be seen in rare brews like Samuel Adams Utopias®, their Samuel Adams® Imperial Pilsner and lots more.

A glass of flavor

Put 2 PHDs in Sensory Science, 1 PHD in Materials Engineering, a bunch of brewers and let them experiment for a year and you get the Samuel Adams Boston Lager® Glass. Jim had a conversation with a winemaker friend about using certain glasses to drink wine and thought, “if it’s true for wine, it has to be true for beer; goes into the same mouth.”

The results of Jim’s innovation to the beer drinking experience is a glass that maximizes the characteristics of Boston Lager and big, balanced complex beers in general.

He hopes “that it creates the same kind of awareness of the importance of glass design, and that a glass should not be for marketing, it should be to enhance the flavor of the beer.”

Gemütlichkeit

What is it? The closest English translation is a German expression for “coziness.” For Jim, its “just that wonderful feeling you get drinking beer with other people who share your passions, your community, your enjoyment of life.” Something that captures the homebrewing roots that he comes from.

The product I'm most proud of it the community, the fellowship, the pleasure that my beer creates. 

- Jim Koch
He expands on how the term relates to what he does, “that’s really what a brewer makes. Yes, I make this liquid, we put it in bottles, we put it in kegs, but really, the product I’m most proud of it the community, the fellowship, the pleasure that my beer creates.”

Full video

Watch Jace’s full interview with Jim to get the whole story.

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