So Jim Koch is officially a billionaire.
Koch once commented on the Boston Beer Company's success at becoming the largest craft brewery in the country. He likened the success to being the tallest pygmy in the room. Although with the announcement that Samuel Adams stock (NYSE: SAM) was selling at above the $224 mark last week, it makes you wonder what kind of private jet that pygmy owns?
For all the posturing and assuring that he, and Samuel Adams, aren't one of the big boys—but kinda are—I still have to say, I think they do a pretty good job. Boston Beer Company (which includes the brands Samuel Adams, Angry Orchard, Twisted Tea and most recently—under the Boston Beer Company subsidiary Alchemy & Science—Coney Island) runs a fine line between marketing and a solid product. Koch may come off as a bit of a zealot in his TV and radio spots for Samuel Adams, and not all of Boston Beer Company's 70+ products may astound or amaze you (although most are quite good, and well made) but the one that started it all, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, still stands the test of time.
Boston Lager is truly a phenomenon. You can walk into almost any bar, pub or restaurant in the U.S. today and find it—be it bottle or draft. There aren't really any other craft beers you can say that about. That craft bit is pretty important, too—because it's still craft. I'm not just talking about the "legal" definition of craft, either. Your barrel pear year capacity or the revenue you generate is irrelevant to the quality of beer you make.
Boston Beer Company may be getting bigger everyday, Jim Koch might be a billionaire pygmy, and all those Boston Beer Company stockholders might be getting rich, but what really matters—at least to me—is that Boston Lager is still a pretty good beer.