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Jim Koch Speaker & Booking Information

Founder of Samuel Adams and the Boston Beer Company
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Jim Koch Biography

For the first 35 years of his life, Jim Koch's family history and future career lay in the attic of his parents' house. Tucked away was an old family recipe from the 1800s for Louis Koch Lager. For five generations, the first born sons in the Koch family were brewmasters, but by the time Jim finished school and was ready to embark on his own career, the market for full-flavored beer had diminished and it seemed Jim's father would be the last Koch to carry on the tradition of brewing flavorful beer.

Jim's passion for quality, flavorful beer kept him close to his roots. In the early 1980's he became convinced that he could find a niche in the competitive beer market for a high-quality American beer. Using the same recipe and traditional brewing processes that his great-great grandfather used, Jim brewed Samuel Adams Boston Lager and took beer to a whole new level.

With his great-great grandfather's recipe for Louis Koch Lager, and a determination to hand-craft quality, flavorful beer, Jim brewed his first batch of Samuel Adams Boston Lager in his kitchen in 1984. Samuel Adams Boston Lager became The Boston Beer Company's flagship style, and was, and is still, created using only the world's finest, all natural ingredients -- no adjuncts. It is brewed using traditional brewing methods such as decoction mash, krausening and dry hopping.

Jim chose the name Samuel Adams after the Boston patriot, the father of the American Revolution, a man who fought for American independence. Samuel Adams was also a brewer who had inherited a brewing tradition from his father.

Samuel Adams made its debut in Boston on Patriot's Day in April 1985. After brewing the beer in small batches and keeping an obsessive eye on quality and flavor, Jim carried bottles bar-to-bar. Bartenders thought the beer was unlike any other they'd tasted in freshness and flavor. The beer caught on, and Jim built the business outward from those first accounts. By the end of the year, sales reached 500 barrels, and distribution expanded across Massachusetts, into Connecticut, and a place where great beer is revered, West Germany.

Six weeks after its introduction, Samuel Adams was selected as "The Best Beer in America" in The Great American Beer Festival's Consumer Preference Poll an award it went on to win an unprecedented four times. Since 2000, Samuel Adams has won more awards in international beer tasting competitions than any other brewery in the world.

Without the capital to build a world-class brewery, Jim began by brewing in a century old brewery in Pennsylvania while renovating part of the old and largely abandoned Haffenreffer Brewery in an old brewing neighborhood in Boston. The Boston Brewery opens in 1988 and remains a lure for beer pilgrims today. To date, over 300,000 have made their way to this brewing mecca in Boston. Koch proudly brews Samuel Adams Boston Lager using the time-honored, traditional four vessel brewing process.

In the mid-1990s Jim returned to his hometown of Cincinnati to purchase the Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewery, a place where his father had apprenticed in the 1940s. In January 2005, Jim embarked on a major renovation and expansion of the Samuel Adams Brewery in Cincinnati.

In June of 2008, The Boston Beer Company took ownership of a world-class brewery with a distinguished history of brewing great beers. Located in the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania, the Samuel Adams Pennsylvania Brewery today employs over 200 people and produces nearly every style of Samuel Adams beers.

Jim helped pioneer the renaissance in American taste for flavorful, traditional beer as Samuel Adams' success became an inspiration and a catalyst to other small brewers. By 1995, hundreds of small, local and regional breweries sprout up all over the country. Today, Samuel Adams is the largest craft brewer, brewing close to two million barrels of Samuel Adams beer, but still is less than 1 percent of the total US beer market.

Samuel Adams sets superior standards for quality, hand crafted beer. Insisting that only the world's finest all natural ingredients make the best beer, Jim and the brewers at Samuel Adams travel the world to hand select the finest ingredients. Their hands-on involvement ensures the highest standards for the best ingredients needed to make quality beer. In fact, on Jim's annual hops selection trip to Bavaria the hops farmers always comment on how Jim doesn't just sniff the hops, he 'dives' into them.

Each batch of Samuel Adams beer is brewed with hand-crafted care and attention to detail to ensure fresh, quality beer. So that consumers enjoy only fresh Samuel Adams, Jim pioneered consumer readable freshness dating in 1988. Today, Samuel Adams is the only brewer with a cooperative program with its distributors to buy back its beer when it's past its peak freshness date.

Under the guidance of Jim, who to this day tastes every batch of beer brewed to ensure it meets his high standards, The Boston Beer Company continues to grow steadily and owns breweries in Boston, Cincinnati and Pennsylvania. In 1995 The Boston Beer Company, Inc. went public selling shares of Class A Common stock on the New York Stock Exchange under SAM. Today, The Boston Beer Company employs more than 700 individuals who are as equally passionate as Jim when it comes to rich, full-flavored beer to beer lovers everywhere. In addition to the world-famous Samuel Adams family of beers, The Boston Beer Company also brews under the tradenames, Hardcore Cider Company and The Twisted Tea Brewing Company.

Brewing more than 31 distinctive styles of beer, Samuel Adams beers offer drinkers a variety of styles for a wide range of tastes. Using the world's finest ingredients to create robust, flavorful beers, these brews include year-round beers, seasonal styles, signature holiday brews, the Brewmaster's Collection and a number of extreme beer styles.

Never satisfied just to make his own version of existing beer styles, Jim pioneered the extreme brewing movement in the early-1990s, and holds a record in the Guinness Book of World Records for Samuel Adams Utopias, an extraordinary beer with high alcohol by volume. Jim first brewed Samuel Adams Triple Bock in 1993, followed by Samuel Adams Millennium Ale in 2000 and Samuel Adams Utopias MMII in 2002, and Samuel Adams Utopias in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009. These "extreme" beers, which stretch the very definition of beer, rival some of the world's finest cognacs and ports.

In 2010, Jim continued to push the envelope in brewing with the release of Infinium, the culmination of a two-year collaboration between Samuel Adams and Germany's Weihenstephan Brewery. Infinium marks the first new beer style created under the Reinheitsgebot in over a hundred years.

In the years since 1984, big brewers offer large amounts of money to buy his company, but Jim chooses independence so that he would never have to compromise on his beers. In fact, the recipe for Samuel Adams Boston Lager has not changed since that first brew. That's why today you can still savor the rich, robust taste that Jim's great-great grandfather did over a century ago.

Due to the large number of requests he receives to speak, Jim only accepts invitations to Beer related and Beer industry events.

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