Join us in Supporting Small Businesses – Raise a Pint, Brew a Dream 2014!
We’re joining craft beer fans across the country this week and celebrating American Craft Beer Week, but there is another celebration that we’re just as passionate about: National Small Business Week!
In 2008, we launched our Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program to help small business owners in food, beverage and craft brewing by providing microloans and the coaching and mentoring they need to jump start and grow their small businesses.
To date the program has:
- Lent nearly $3 million to more than 325 small business owners through our partnership with Accion, the leading nonprofit provider of microloans
- Helped to create or retain nearly 2,000 jobs
- Coached more than 4,000 small business owners from coast to coast
And now, we’re asking for your support!
Throughout the month of May, we’ll donate five cents* for every pint of Samuel Adams Boston Lager draft sold at participating locations to fund micro-loans for passionate, hard-working food and beverage entrepreneurs!
To find participating bars and restaurants near you, click here. You can also share your support of small businesses for a chance to win a Raise a Pint prize pack here.
When you raise a pint of Boston Lager, just know that you’re supporting a Brewing the American Dream small business owner like: Kris Schoenberger, Owner of BBQ’d Productions based out of Chicago, IL.
Q: So how did you become so passionate about BBQ?
A: BBQ means so many things to people. Some people define BBQ as a sauce, as smoking meat, or as anything you cook outside on a grill. For me, BBQ is a combination of experiences – from different regions, cooking styles, and culinary traditions. My passion comes from taking those experiences and seeing how far I can take it by pushing the limits of my own creativity. I’ve barbecued everything from cake to ice cream to spaghetti and meatballs. There’s nothing I won’t try!
Q: What inspired you to start your own business?
A: I was hosting a BBQ at my home and a friend liked the food so much that he asked me to cater his wedding for over 300 people. At the wedding, people came up to me and asked for my business card – the rest is history. I knew I had a talent but I didn’t really know it was marketable. Once I came to understand that this could be a creative outlet for me, and that I could build a profitable business around it, I knew I had found my calling.
Q: How has the loan you received from Brewing the American Dream help you take the next step with BBQ’d Productions?
A: The loan has actually helped me in a bunch of different ways. I used the loan to buy a second trailer which enabled me to take on more than one event or catering job at a time. This second trailer is wrapped with our brand design and the name of the company, so it gives the business more visibility and the great professional look it deserves.
Working through the process with my loan officer at Accion was great. She helped me think through where I wanted to go with my business and helped me develop my business plan. When I applied for the loan, I really had a vision for how it would help me grow BBQ’d Productions in a smart way.
Q: Have you been able to take advantage of any of the coaching offered through the program?
A: Yes and in many ways, that has been as important as the loan. I attended a Speed Coaching event recently and had the chance to sit down and talk to Jim Koch. It is amazing how much we have in common around the way we approach our businesses… the creativity, the importance of being independent, and the emphasis we both put on quality and our shared love for making a product that makes people happy. I’ve also received coaching from the Sam Adams team by phone in marketing and in human resources, and I’ve been able to apply a lot of the suggestions the coaches made.
Q: What’s the best part of going to work at BBQ’d Productions every day?
A: Getting up every day, looking out the window and seeing a trailer in my driveway with my name on it. It is so gratifying to be able to say, “I did that.” After four years of running the business, BBQ’d Productions is an actual brand that people associate with good things – not just great BBQ, but also a hardworking guy who gives back to his community.