billionaire hunters at Bloomberghave found another one — a billionaire born out of the bottom of a glass.
Jim Koch, the founder of Boston Beer Co., brewer of Sam Adams, rode the craft beer wave to wealth with a family recipe.
When he started, though, the United States was basically a “beer wasteland.” He told Bloomberg, “nobody wanted my beer.”
So Koch, a Harvard graduate and sixth generation brewer, knocked on doors at bars across the country to get them to carry his beer.
He first paid himself $US60,000 and hoped to sell $US1 million worth of beer in five years — likely a step down from his first job at Boston Consulting Group in 1979. At the time there were only about a dozen craft brewers in the country going up against the big beer companies.
It was at that point that Koch’s family realised he was not kidding about making his brewery happen, so they brought out the big guns (from Bloomberg):
When his father realised Koch was serious about starting a brewery, they went into the attic and dug out the recipe developed in the 1860s by his great-great grandfather Louis Koch. That became the basis for Boston Lager. Within a year, his marketing scored two boosts: taking the brand name from Samuel Adams, a Revolutionary War Patriot he found had a brewing connection, and getting the beer named the country’s best at a national brewing festival.
By 1990, Koch had exceeded his business plan multiple times, selling $US21.2 million in beer that year. Four years later, revenue topped $US128 million.
Boston Beer Co. IPO’d in 1995 and now sells 2.7 million barrels of beer a day.
Very serious stuff.