Who Is Craft Beer's First Billionaire?

Jim Koch, of the Boston Beer Company and Samuel Adams, has officially become the richest guy in the craft beer world

Flickr/ blyzz
Jim Koch, the co-founder of the Boston Beer Company (behind the Samuel Adams beer brand), surpassed the billionaire mark when stock prices for the company hit $225 on Monday.

It's a victory moment for the guys and gals in the craft beer business who are hoping that their dedication to a great beer will pay off. Jim Koch, the co-founder of the Boston Beer Company (behind the Samuel Adams beer brand), surpassed the billionaire mark when stock prices for the company hit $225 on Monday. 

Bloomberg shares that Boston Beer Co.'s growth has only spurred on the whole craft brewery movement's growth in the first half of 2013. While total beer sales, which include the big brewing conglomerates' sales, fell by 2 percent in the first half of 2013, craft beer sales and Boston Beer Co.'s sales grew by 15 percent and 17 percent, respectively. Koch, in an interview with Bloomberg, said he was happy but not bragging about it. "Having watched my stock price go up and down and up, it seems almost whimsical," Koch said to Bloomberg. "I remind people getting rich is life’s great booby prize. Any normal person would much rather be happy than rich."

Boston Beer Co., which first started selling beer in 1985, is now the country's third-largest brewery — to which many grumble that Samuel Adams can no longer be considered a "craft beer." Still, when compared to the sales of Anheuser Busch-InBev and MillerCoors, Boston Beer Co.'s sales are still pretty small. The Huffington Post reports that the brewery was on track to sell 3 million barrels in 2013, which equals roughly 1.2 percent of all beer sales in the country. 


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