Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream Announces Winner of 4th Annual National Pitch Room Competition

The Boston Beer Company
Small food business awarded $10,000 grant, extensive mentorship from Sam Adams, and access to national network of...

Small food business awarded $10,000 grant, extensive mentorship from Sam Adams, and access to national network of food/beverage buyers and experts

BOSTON, Dec. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream, a micro-lending and coaching program for small business owners working in food, beverage and craft brewing, announced that Minus the Moo has won the program's 4th annual national Pitch Room competition. Founded in Boston by long-time friends Gwen Burlingame and Katy Flannery, Minus the Moo has developed the first lactose-free ice creams that match the taste and texture of traditional premium ice creams.

As an important extension of the coaching and mentoring activities that are part of the Brewing the American Dream program, the Pitch Room competition focuses on helping small food and beverage business owners perfect the art of the sales pitch, as well as gain exposure to important food and beverage retailers and buyers. The finals were the culmination of four regional events and a virtual Wild Card competition held throughout 2016.

On December 1st in Boston, seven food and beverage small business owners from Boston, Denver, Lincoln (NE), San Diego and Washington, D.C., presented their best two-minute sales pitch to a panel of expert judges. After providing constructive feedback to each of the entrepreneurs, the judges selected the best pitch based on the quality of the presentation, creativity, passion and product viability. The ultimate winner, Minus the Moo, was awarded a $10,000 business grant and extended mentoring from Samuel Adams in 2017.

The expert panel of judges that joined Sam Adams founder and brewer Jim Koch for the Boston Pitch Room Finals included:

  • Sandy Block, Vice President, Beverage Operations, Legal Sea Foods
  • Dan Bova, Editorial Director,
  • Jon Chesto, Business Reporter, Boston Globe
  • Tony Giardina, Director of Supply Chain, Delaware North
  • Jon Olinto, Co-Founder, b.good

"Our Pitch Room final showcased the best of the small food and beverage businesses we've met from across the country," said Samuel Adams founder and brewer Jim Koch, who was also one of the judges. "Last night, we heard from so many great businesses – it was hard to choose just one. Minus the Moo's lactose-free dairy ice cream especially differentiated itself, and our panel of experts think it has real market potential. Katy and Gwen's passion really came through, which is something that resonated with me as someone who has started and grown a business from scratch. Right now, they are a thriving regional business, and our goal through this program is to help them get in front of a national audience."

Koch added that the runner-up was Deaf Man's BBQ Sauce, and as the second-place winner will also receive one-on-one coaching from the Samuel Adams executive team.

"Winning the Sam Adams Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room finals is a really big deal for our small business, and we're so excited about it," said Katy Flannery, co-founder of Minus the Moo. "Every business that presented was impressive, and it was an honor to be at the competition and competing with them."

"The grant, and especially the mentoring, are really going to help our business get to the next level," added Minus the Moo co-founder Gwen Burlingame. "We got great feedback from the judges and we're ready to jump in and work with the Sam Adams team to help grow our business so that everyone, whether they're lactose intolerant or not, can enjoy great ice cream."  

Minus the Moo began when Katy, who's lactose-intolerant, and Gwen, a sympathetic ice cream lover, bonded over the void of authentic tasting, lactose-free ice cream options. Katy began experimenting in 2012, and developed an ice cream recipe using real dairy and the lactase enzyme to ensure it was lactose-free. Gwen supported Katy's goals of sharing this new product with all lactose intolerant ice cream lovers, and they teamed-up to create Minus the Moo.

Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream Impact and Inspiration
Samuel Adams is celebrating 32 years of brewing, and despite the craft brewery's success, Jim Koch hasn't forgotten how hard it is to start and run a successful small business. That's why he created Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream, a unique program that provides the two things he wishes he had when starting Samuel Adams: financing and real-world business advice.

As the core philanthropic program for Samuel Adams, Brewing the American Dream is executed in partnership with Accion—the largest nonprofit micro- and small business lender in the United States. Since Brewing the American Dream began in 2008, Samuel Adams and Accion have lent more than $11.2 million to over 950 businesses. Just as important, the program has coached or mentored more than 6,000 small businesses and helped to create or save over 3,800 jobs across the country. The program has also seen an unprecedented loan repayment rate of 98.1 percent – well above the national average for small business loans.

To learn more please visit:

Samuel Adams, Sam Adams, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, and Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream are registered trademarks of The Boston Beer Company.

About Samuel Adams and The Boston Beer Company
The Boston Beer Company began in 1984 with a generations-old family recipe that Founder and Brewer Jim Koch uncovered in his father's attic. Inspired and unafraid to challenge conventional thinking about beer, Jim brought the recipe to life in his kitchen. Pleased with the results of his work, Jim decided to sample his beer with bars in Boston in the hopes that drinkers would appreciate the complex, full-flavored beer he brewed fresh in America. That beer was aptly named Samuel Adams Boston Lager, in recognition of one of our nation's great founding fathers, a man of independent mind and spirit. Little did Jim know at the time, Samuel Adams Boston Lager would soon become a catalyst of the American craft beer revolution.

Today, The Boston Beer Company brews more than 60 styles of beer. It relentlessly pursues the development of new styles and the perfection of classic beers by searching the world for the finest ingredients. Using the traditional four vessel brewing process, the Company often takes extra steps like dry-hopping, barrel-aging and a secondary fermentation known as krausening. The Company has also pioneered another revolution, the 'extreme beer' movement, where it seeks to challenge drinker's perceptions of what beer can be. The Boston Beer Company has been committed to elevating the image of American craft beer by entering festivals and competitions around the globe, and is one of the world's most awarded breweries at international beer competitions. As an independent company, brewing quality beer remains its primary focus. Although Samuel Adams beer is America's leading craft beer, it accounts for only one percent of the U.S. beer market. The Boston Beer Company will continue its independently-minded quest to brew great beer and to advocate for the growth of craft beer across America. For more information, please visit

About Accion
Accion connects small business owners with the financing and advice it takes to create or grow healthy enterprises. Since 1991, the members of the Accion U.S. Network have lent to over 50,000 people in the U.S.
For more information, visit or call 1.800.508.7624.

SOURCE The Boston Beer Company