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Sam Adams sharing hops with smaller brewers

Jim Koch, Samuel AdamsJim Koch sent a big old hops valentine to smaller breweries on Thursday. Ten tons worth.

He told them that Boston Beer, brewer of the Samuel Adams beers, will sell 20,000 pounds of hops that otherwise would not be available to smaller breweries. The company will sell the hops at its cost, which is considerably less than they would bring on the open (or “spot”) market.

Koch revealed the offer to Brewers Association members Thursday in a forum for association members, telling them:

“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.”

The brewery will sell 10,000 pounds of East Kent Goldings from Great Britain and 10,000 pounds of Tettnang Tettnangers from small farms in the Tettnang region in Germany. Both are “aroma hops,” horribly under appreciated and the kind being dissed by brewers chasing alpha, but at the same time becoming crazily expensive.

Samuel Adams will limit the amount sold to any one brewery in order to assure as many as possible get hops.

“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,” Koch wrote. “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.”

This is explained in the “Hop-Sharing Program” area at the Samuel Adams website (you will have to verify your age). The FAQ answers most of the questions I’ve been receiving during the day. (These are not “left over” hops for instance; in fact they haven’t even arrived in the country. Boston Beer will be glad to use them if any aren’t claimed.)

I know whose beer I’m drinking tonight.

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5 Responses to Sam Adams sharing hops with smaller brewers

  1. brendan February 15, 2008 at 8:58 am #

    He must have read Hans Brinker and the silver skates as a child! What a great thing to do.

  2. Rick Sellers February 15, 2008 at 9:05 am #

    Huh. Now that’s cool, a feel-good story to kick off the weekend. Thanks.

  3. Lew Bryson February 15, 2008 at 9:20 am #

    Class act. Hope this ends the Koch-dissing…at least for a while!

  4. Stan Hieronymus February 15, 2008 at 9:30 am #

    In fact, the first headline I put on it read, “Time for Sam Adams bashers to shut up.”

    But hops seemed too important to leave out of the head.

  5. SteveH February 15, 2008 at 10:22 am #

    Lew took the words out of my mouth, class act. Koch has always seemed like a “regular guy,” now he’s proving that he’s a great person as well!

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