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Jim Koch Boston Beer Chairman Jim Koch, right, said his company attracted more customers, and previous customers drank more beer.
Globe 100

Tapped out? Not at Boston Beer

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Sacha Pfeiffer
Globe Staff / May 20, 2008

Even in a tough economy, beer lovers need their brew.

That's how Boston Beer Co., the maker of Sam Adams, explains its 21 percent jump in revenue last year despite rising commodity prices and reduced consumer spending.

The increase helped the company vault to its highest ranking yet — hitting number 26 — in the Globe 100.

Increased revenues weren't simply the result of higher prices, either.

Sales were up 17 percent in 2007, according to founder and chairman James Koch.

"People drank more Sam Adams last year, and new drinkers got turned on to Sam Adams," Koch says. "We're seeing the twentysomethings graduating from their cheaper college beer sooner and willing to step up to a richer, more flavorful beer."

As a pioneer of craft brewing in the United States and the category's market leader, Boston Beer helped create the public's interest in sophisticated brews and continues to benefit from a growing appetite for its specialty products.

"In some ways, beer is becoming the new wine," Koch says. "You're getting a wave of interest in quality beer, in different beer styles, in how beer is made, and in beer that has flavor and taste."

And so far, he says, the company hasn't seen the nation's fiscal belt-tightening erode sales.

"Beer like Sam Adams is a very affordable luxury," Koch says. "People can still afford an $8 six-pack. It's not out of reach for the average person."

HEADQUARTERS: Boston

YEAR FOUNDED: 1984

CHIEF EXECUTIVE: Martin Roper

REVENUE: $345.5 million

NET INCOME: $22.5 million

MARKET VALUE: $462.2 million

EMPLOYEES: 500

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