The Boston Beer CompanyPresented to Founder & Brewer Jim Koch
It was despite many seemingly insurmountable obstacles that Founder and Brewer Jim Koch launched The Boston Beer Company 25 years ago. Today, it is the very same spirit of perseverance that drives the company’s philanthropic strategy–which celebrates, honors, and seeks to empower “the underdog.”
Over the past two years, The Boston Beer Company has shifted its philanthropic strategy from one of giving dollars and product to a variety of causes to one that channels the company’s financial, human, corporate, and in-kind assets into a single issue. Moreover, this strategy is in support of a beneficiary truly aligned with the company’s heritage, values, and culture.
In June 2008, Boston Beer engaged in a partnership with ACCION USA, America’s leading nonprofit microlending organization, and created Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream® to provide small-business owners in the food and beverage industry with the tools and resources they need to become financially independent. Boston Beer provides entrepreneurs with business-acumen counseling and directs awareness-building activities pertaining to communications, marketing, and public relations. ACCION USA manages a loan fund, leads a financial literacy program, screens applicants, and counsels small-business owners through the loan process and beyond. ACCION USA and Boston Beer coordinate to recruit entrepreneurs to their programs and hold ancillary educational events. In the spirit of “leading by example,” Boston Beer hosts Speed Coaching events, where small-business owners receive an evening of one-on-one coaching sessions with Mr. Koch himself, as well as with Boston Beer employees expert in branding, sales and distribution, finance, legal considerations, packaging, e-commerce, public relations, and marketing.
Following the launch of the program, Brewing the American Dream was incorporated into Boston Beer’s annual sales meeting. Mr. Koch told stories of entrepreneurs who had received support through the loan fund and benefitted from the educational events. Large posters with the entrepreneurs’ photographs and stories helped to bring the program’s influence to life for the company’s national sales team.
Boston Beer initially made a three-year commitment to Brewing the American Dream; today, the program is expected to continue indefinitely. The Boston Business Journal recently awarded the program its Best Corporate Citizen Partnership Program in the Innovation category. Brewing the American Dream will continue to help aspiring entrepreneurs with limited resources grow successful businesses and realize their own American dream.