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Friday, February 15, 2008

Hey, Craft Brewers: Who's Your Daddy?

Just picked this up off (thanks to Guy Hagner for the tip). Hats off to Jim Koch, and I hope we won't see any more mean-spirited slagging of Koch among the beer brewing and drinking community after this.

For a couple of months now, we've all been facing the unprecedented hops shortage and it's affected all craft brewers in various ways. The impact is even worse on the small craft brewers--openings delayed, recipes changed, astronomical hops prices being paid and brewers who couldn't make beer.

So we looked at our own hops supplies at Boston Beer and decided we could share some of our hops with other craft brewers who are struggling to get hops this year. We're offering 20,000 pounds at our cost to brewers who need them. Specifically, we are able to spare 10,000 pounds of East Kent Goldings from Tony Redsell, a top English grower featured by Michael Jackson in Michael Jackson's Beer Companion (page 75 has a picture) and 10,000 pounds of the German Noble hop Tettnang Tettnanger from small farms in the Tettnang region in Germany. These are both type 90 pellets from the 2007 crop and are the exact same hops we brew our own beers with. We're not looking to make money on this so we're selling them at our cost of $5.72 a pound plus $.75 a pound to cover shipping and handling for the Goldings and $5.42 per pound plus $.75 a pound to cover shipping and handling for the Tetts. They're packed in 22# foil bags, boxed four bags to a box in 88 lb. boxes and will be shipped from cold storage.

The purpose of doing this is to get some hops to the brewers who really need them. So if you don't really need them, please don't order them. And don't order them just because we're making them available at a price way below market. Order them because you need these hops to make your beer. We're not asking questions, so let your conscience be your guide.

A few mechanics--until we know how much need there is, we've put a maximum out there of 6 boxes per brewer, which is 528 pounds. You can order less in 88 pound increments. You pay shipping. If we get more orders than the 20,000 pounds, we'll have a lottery. We will be putting the basic information to order, some faqs and the actual offer on our website in the next day or so, probably no later than Tuesday. Look for "Hop-Sharing Program" on the front page of the site.

We hope this will make brewing a little easier for those hardest hit by the hop shortage.

Jim Koch, Boston Beer Company


David said...

I had a gut feeling something like this would come about. I had no idea who may step up first but I'm glad to see it. It shows a real commitment to the community.

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic concept! I know for a fact that this is not the first helping hand of this sort offered within the brewing community, but it may certainly be the biggest. Noble hops offered in a noble gesture by a stand-up company. I'll be sure to have a Sam Adams or two the next time I see their tap handle. Hats off, Jim.

Anonymous said...

Oh, now that is a genuinely nice thing to do, anything else be damned!

Makes me like Sam Adams all that much more!!!

(Hey, if its possible, try to let him know your readers applaud him.)

Unknown said...

That's first class, all the way. You'd never see that kind of help coming from the BMC crowd, for sure. Cheers to Jim. Makes me even more glad to have purchased 3 CASES of Sam Adam's Imperial Pilsner last year (still have most of one case left).

Deuane said...

Kudos to Jim and the Boston Beer Co folks for stepping up and helping out the little guy!

Sharing the love and spreading the wealth around...that is what it is all about people!

Stan Hieronymus said...

You'd never see that kind of help coming from the BMC crowd, for sure.

Just for the record, Boulder Beer probably wouldn't not have survived in the 1980s had Coors not helped with ingredients.

Also, the larger brewers regularly donate their time to technical panels at events like the Craft Brewers Conference.

HomeBrewMe said...

I think I may order up a tall Sam Adams next time I go out. That's wonderful, they really capture the true spirit of beer!

JessKidden said...

Another "BMC" example from the early days of the craft beer era:

(From an article about Wm. Newman Brewery, the first micro in the East, Brewers Digest 6/82)

"Early this year, Mr. Newman faced a keg supply problem. He solved it by communicating directly with the head of the world largest brewery. He sent a telegram (ed. note- a "what"?) to August A. Busch III ...asking if he could buy 200 of the St. Louis company's Golden Gate kegs. Mr. Busch agreed and the Newman brewery now has 360 kegs that once served A-B at its Merrimack, NH plant."

As Stan H. notes, lots of "macro" breweries and their employees helped out in the early days (and many notables craft brewers and consultants came from "the other side") and, today, the macros pays dues to the small brewers organization - the AHA affliated "Brewers Association" and the MBAA includes membership from all breweries big and small, etc.

Alexander D. Mitchell IV said...

Another "BMC helps" story:

I've heard the story that, when National/Stroh's still had that big brewery up along I-695 in Halethorpe, that after Clipper City was started up right down Hollins Ferry Road from them, Hugh Sisson and/or his crew would occasionally go up the street to buy/borrow/help themselves to (depending on who's telling it) various tank cleaning chemicals that National needed by the truckload and Clipper City needed by the bucketful. I'll wait for Hugh to confirm/deny this.....