February
16
2008

Thanks Jim

when days are bleakest
leaders show their true colors
with Noble actions

Written by Captain Hops.

References: If you haven’t heard already, there is a huge hop shortage worldwide due to a perfect storm of economic, environmental, and accidental circumstances. The situation has gotten increasingly dire in the past several months forcing craft brewers to increase prices, alter recipes, and in some cases cease making beers. It will probably take a couple years for the whole supply and demand thing to work itself out and some small brewers simply won’t survive.

The mega breweries have long term futures contracts on hops that stabilize prices for them and guarantee supplies. This will allow them to sail through these choppy waters without much impact. In fact it is likely that they see this crisis as a good way to eliminate some of the craft brew competition that have steadily eaten into their market share over the last few years.

So what is Jim Koch, the founder of the Boston Beer Company which is the maker of Samuel Adams beers and the 6th largest brewing company in America, doing to take advantage of the situation? You’d think this would be a great opportunity for him to leverage his companies quality products, size, strong financial position, and business prowess to fill in the gaps and take market share as small brewers falter.

Instead, on Valentines Day, he showed his love to the craft brew industry by announcing a plan to assist small craft brewers stricken by the hops shortage. He offered to share 10 tons of quality hops with them for the price he paid plus shipping. That price is much less than the current market rate for hops if they can be found at all.

This is a big deal for brewers and beer lovers. Though it won’t eliminate the impact of the hops crisis, this action will allow some brewers to continue making their most flavorful beers and it will allow some brewers to continue making any beer at all. It will also allow beer lovers to continue to enjoy a large variety of lagers and ales produced by small and local craft brewers.

Cynics may say this is a blatant public relations move. They’d be right of course, but it’s also brilliant. Sharing the hops will help individual brewers, it will help the craft brew industry, it will help beer lovers and it will cement the reputation of Boston Beer Company as a craft brew leader as opposed to the smallest of the mega brewers. All in all it’s good for beer and it’s good for business. Hats off to a true leader.

For more information about the program look for the Hop Sharing program on the Samuel Adams website.

Thing of the Day: Men’s Samuel Adams Beer Costume

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Comments

  1. Wow! Where’s all the “Koch is not a real brewer!” tirades?

    Has maturity finally set in with the Koch critics?

  2. I always have and always will appreciate the fact that Jim made it possible to get a decent beer nearly anywhere in this country.

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