It isn’t always easy to work as part of a team — especially when you’re competitors. However, it’s something the craft brewing industry has taken to heart in order to help increase its share of the beer market.
Throughout the course of three years, The Boston Beer Co. has collaborated with Berkshire Mountain Distillers Inc., Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Weihenstephan Brewery to create innovative beers and whiskeys. Even more so, the company has helped fund and mentor more than a dozen craft brewers via its Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program.
During our Executive of the Year interview, Founder and Chairman of The Boston Beer Co. Jim Koch told me why he feels the need to not only help his competition but essentially create new competition. As a founder who started off selling bottles of Samuel Adams Boston Lager out of a briefcase filled with cold packs (see page 29), Koch sympathizes with the plight of entrepreneurs, but he also believes in the importance of collaboration to help grow the craft beer segment. Although craft breweries continue to pop up around the country, they still make up a very small part of the beer category.
In addition to benefiting the craft beer segment, collaborating with and supporting respected peers can help brewers expand their knowledge and experience, which might lead them to places they would have never been able to reach alone. As the saying goes, “Two heads are better than one.”