Cheers to Small Business Saturday!

BTADSamuel Adams is celebrating 31 years of brewing, and despite our success, our Founder and Brewer Jim Koch hasn’t forgotten how hard it is to start and run a successful small business. That’s why in 2008, Jim created our company’s philanthropy program, Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream.

Brewing the American Dream provides craft food, beverage, and brewing business owners with the two essential ingredients for success and that Jim didn’t have when he started brewing Samuel Adams Boston Lager in his kitchen: financing and real-world business advice.

This Saturday, November 28th is Small Business Saturday and and we encourage you to  join us in in stepping out to shop local and support small food and beverage entrepreneurs across the country. Read More

Play Boston Bingo to Support Small Businesses

As you may have noticed, we’ve gotten A LOT of snow here in Boston over the past month. While the snow is a big pain for us as we shovel out our sidewalks and driveways and navigate narrow, snow-filled streets, one community that has been really negatively impacted by this weather is a community we are very passionate about: small business owners.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and his Office of Economic Development share our love for our hometown and have developed a fun game for all of us in the Boston area to support local businesses: Boston Bingo!

Photo via Mike Bednarsky, West Roxbury Patch

Mayor Martin Walsh, Carlene O’Garro of Delectable Desires, and Jim Koch Photo via Mike Bednarsky, West Roxbury Patch

All you need to do to participate is download this official Bingo card, visit your favorite corresponding local businesses between now and March 15th, and enter electronically or in person (instructions for how to enter here). People who participate have the chance to win great prizes such as coffee with the Mayor, Bruins tickets, and more! Most importantly, you’ll get to support some really great small businesses in the area.

Looking for ideas of great small businesses to check out in the Boston area? We got you covered! Through our Brewing the American Dream program, we work with a lot of awesome small businesses in the food and beverage industries all throughout Boston by providing them with access to small business loans, and small business coaching and mentoring.

Here are some suggestions of places where you can check off squares on your Boston Bingo card:

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Q&A with Carlene O’Garro, Owner of Delectable Desires

The Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program began in 2008.  Our very first loan recipient was Carlene O’Garro, owner of Delectable Desires Pastries. Specializing in custom cakes and French pastries, Carlene has had a lifelong love of creating delicious (and beautiful) pastries. Up until this point, Carlene has been running her business out of her home and baking in the Crop Circle Kitchen Incubator in Jamaica Plain – coincidentally across from the Samuel Adams Brewery.   To celebrate the grand opening of her brick and mortar shop in West Roxbury, MA today, we caught up with her about the challenges and joys of being a small business owner in the food and beverage industry and how the Brewing the American Dream Program has been with her every step of the way.

Delectable Desires

Q: How did your passion for pastries begin?

A: It began when I was a little kid; I baked in the kitchen with my mom on Sundays. When I was about four, my parents bought me an Easy Bake oven so I could bake on my own instead of using the real oven. From that moment, I was hooked! I find baking to be so relaxing, it just comes naturally to me. Cakes are my main passion – I love creating desserts that look fake! When people take a step back and say “is that really a cake?” that is my favorite reaction.

Q: What ultimately made you decide to turn your passion into a business?

A: I didn’t want to go through life working in a 9-5 job, waiting on a promotion, and waiting on someone else to say I was good enough to get the corner office. I wanted to do my own thing and I knew that I could work hard doing something that I love and make it happen.

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Celebrate Small Businesses and Game Day with Boston Lager Cupcakes

We’re sad to see another season of football come to an end, but we’re really excited to enjoy the big game. While it is a big weekend for our hometown team, it’s also a big weekend for Carlene O’Garro, our very first Brewing the American Dream loan recipient and owner of local bakery and cafe Delectable Desires.

Please join us at 1PM on Friday, January 30th for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of her brick and mortar shop located at 1755 Centre Street West Roxbury, MA with some very special guests – our founder and brewer Jim Koch, and Mayor Marty Walsh. Be one of the first 100 people to arrive and you’ll receive a Samuel Adams Boston Lager Cupcake on the house!

Can’t make it to the event? Here’s how you can make them at home:

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2014 Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room Competition: Meet the Finalists

Entrepreneurs nationwide in the food, beverage, and craft brewing industries have been perfecting their two minute business pitches as part of our Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room Competition. This national contest offers small business owners the chance to win a $10,000 grant, extended coaching and mentorship from members of our team, and an opportunity to pitch their product to key retailers and buyers.

We’ve hosted four regional “Pitch Room” competitions this year in Chicago, Denver, Boston, and New York City. We’ve heard from a total of 23 small business owners who had just two minutes to pitch their products to a panel of expert judges ranging from members of the Sam Adams team (including Jim Koch), retailers, buyers, and business experts. Following the pitch, the small business owners were offered valuable feedback putting them one step closer to perfecting their sales pitch. When a small business is starting out, sometimes all they have is their pitch or their story, so improving this pitch goes a long way to enhance one’s selling abilities at the offset.

As a new element of the competition, we partnered with Entrepreneur magazine to host a “Wild Card” Competition, giving small business owners across the country that couldn’t attend a regional competition the chance to submit their best pitch by uploading a two minute pitch video online. Once we narrowed that pool down to X finalists, our drinkers helped us choose who would be moving on to the Pitch Room Finals (more on that below).

This year we have nine finalists who will be participating in the Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room Finals in New York City on December 4th!

Meet the finalists:

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How Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream is Helping Food and Beverage Businesses Become Pitch Perfect

In 2008, when we launched our Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program, we imagined that new food and beverage business owners would benefit greatly from access to all kinds of coaching – from how to procure ingredients, to marketing opportunities like how to create a compelling label and website, to addressing a variety of legal issues, and even leasing commercial space. But what we didn’t anticipate is that so many would want help figuring out the best way to tell their own story – essentially becoming “pitch ready” for some of our country’s biggest retailers.

As part of our program, we host Speed Coaching events across the country where business owners receive advice from Samuel Adams employee-volunteers representing a range of business functions. At every event from coast to coast, our coaches, who have a wide range of expertise, were being asked the same questions:

“How can I pitch my product to a national supermarket chain?” or “How can I get a restaurant to use my product as a new ingredient?”

So we decided to help.

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Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room Competition: Congratulations to our Winners!

We traveled across the country meeting amazing small business owners in the food and beverage industry as part of our Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room Contest.

Entrepreneurs in the food and beverage industry nationwide perfected their two minute pitch to over 25 expert judges. The yearlong competition culminated in our Finals at the Samuel Adams Boston Brewery on December 9th. Finalists from the San Francisco, Denver, New York, and Boston areas competed for the chance to be awarded a $10,000 grant and extended coaching and mentorship from Samuel Adams employees.

Congratulations to our overall winners, Daniel and Rebecca Dengrove, owners of New York based Brewla Bars. Daniel and Rebecca impressed the judges with their unique spin on the classic popsicle with all natural and fresh brewed ingredients.

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We also launched a People’s Choice Contest on Facebook prior to the final Pitch Competition. The finalists competed to promote their business to their social media networks to achieve the most votes and likes.

Catherine Oddenino and Ruthie Vishlitzky, owners of New York based Luca & Bosco tapped into their extensive networks to take the first win as the People’s Choice Award Winners.

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Give us your Best Pitch!

Are you a small business owner in the food or beverage industry with a passion for your product? Stay tuned to see where our competition is headed in 2014 and show the judges what you’ve got!

Q&A with Small Business Owner & Brewing the American Dream Loan Recipient Edward Belden of Peddler’s Creamery

The many business challenges that our founder Jim Koch faced when starting Samuel Adams, became the inspiration for creating our Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program.  Through the program, we partner with microlender Accion to provide access to capital and much-needed nuts and bolts business advice to small business owners just starting out in the food and beverage industry to help give them the support Jim wished he would have had early on.

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We ask you to join us in supporting small businesses this holiday season, especially on Small Business Saturday. Here is a list of business owners in our program and be sure to check out featured products on Pinterest.

Recently, we had the opportunity to chat with small business owner Edward Belden, founder of LA based Peddler’s Creamery. Peddler’s Creamery produces high quality artisan bicycle-churned organic dairy and non-dairy ice cream and frozen desserts that features local ingredients. Edward Belden received a loan from Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream to help fund his start-up equipment for his unique fresh churned ice cream and supplies.  He has participated in numerous speed coaching events and was even featured on the bottom of our Boston Lager 6-packs.

Here’s what Edward had to say about the idea behind his business, the importance of being involved in the community, and some of the best business advice he has received:

Q: Where did the idea for Peddler’s Creamery come from?

A: I loved making ice cream, eating ice cream, and riding bicycles. I was riding my bike past an ice cream place soon after graduating college and the idea to put them all together popped into my head!

Q: What are the benefits of fresh churned ice cream?

A: It allows us to use fresher local ingredients. You can also have more unique flavors that you might not have in a typical ice cream shop experience. It’s also fun to have customers participate in the process by getting their own chance to peddle the bicycle that churns the ice cream.

Q: 5% of profits from Peddler’s Creamery go to social and environmental causes. Which organizations have benefited from this and why do you think it is important for your business to invest in the community in this way?

A: We have worked with Habitat for Humanity, LA County Bicycle Coalition, and Downtown Women’s Center. Where are in an area in LA that is trying to help a lot of people transition out of homelessness and we feel it is really important to invest in the community. On Small Business Saturday we are going to be hosting our first Churning for Charity event and donating the ice cream volunteers make to the Downtown Women’s Center.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting your business?

A: One of the biggest challenges we faced was finding funding. There is a lot you can do on your own – you can create recipes and have an amazing product, but you need to be able to create your own capital. Having the opportunity to work with a company like Samuel Adams was incredibly helpful.

Q: How has Brewing the American Dream helped your business?

A: Knowing that there was capital and additional support coming in through the program was super helpful and the network we have developed is incredibly powerful. Samuel Adams helped us get the word out about our business – we were featured on posters in bars in LA and also on the bottom of Boston Lager six packs. It was cool to be able to go to my local grocery store, pick up a six-pack of Sam Adams, and show it to my friends.

Q: What advice do you have for entrepreneurs in the food and beverage industry who are just starting out?

A: I think the best advice is something I got from a friend of mine – follow your passion and jump in. Don’t be afraid to take make your own path.

Want to learn more about Peddler’s Creamery? Check out their website.

Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room Competition

These past few months we’ve been traveling across the country meeting with small business owners in the food and beverage industry. Although this time, we’re not sourcing ingredients for a new beer. Entrepreneurs nationwide have been perfecting their two minute pitch to expert judges as part of our Pitch Room Competition which offers the chance to win a $10,000 grant, extended coaching and mentorship from The Boston Beer Company, and an opportunity to pitch their product to key retailers and buyers.

In partnership with Accion, we’ve hosted four “Pitch Room” competitions this year  in San Francisco, Denver,  Boston, and New York City. We’ve heard from 25 small business owners who had the opportunity to pitch their products in just two minutes to a panel of expert judges ranging from members of the Samuel Adams senior leadership team (including Jim Koch), retailers, buyers, and business experts. Following the pitch, business owners were offered valuable feedback putting them one step closer to perfecting their sales pitch.

Meet the finalists…

Sasm Adams Coaching30Cole Meeker, owner of San Francisco based Sea of Change Trading Company,  impressed the judges with his baked seaweed snacks. They come in a variety of different flavors including Thai BBQ and Maple Sea Bakin’. Cole’s dedication to keeping his ingredients fresh and all natural made him the judge’s pick.

Lindita winnerLindita Torres-Winter was the winner at the Denver “Pitch Room” event. As owner of Lindita’s Salsa, she has developed a salsa mix that gives you fresh salsa – all you need to do is add the tomatoes. Lindita grew up as a farm worker and picked tomatoes as a child. She created her authentic mixes based upon her Hispanic culture and heritage.

SamPitchRoom_437_LowResMichael Fairbrother of Londonderry, NH won the Boston “Pitch Room” event with his pitch of Moonlight Meadery. Michael became passionate about mead way back in 1995 when he tried it for the first time – since then, he has opened his own meadery that offers a variety of different styles of mead. Michael has extensive knowledge about mead and is dedicated to experimenting with his craft.

doves_figsRobin Cohen, owner of Doves and Figs based in Arlington, MA was a finalist at the Boston event and she will also be joining us in the finals. Robin produces delicious jams and all natural fruit spreads made with all locally grown products  made with no preservatives and made in small batches. The Boston judges loved her family story and her passion for her product.

BrewlaBrother and sister duo Daniel and Rebecca Dengrove, owners of New York based Brewla Bars, were the winners of the New York City Pitch Room event. Their all natural frozen bars made with craft brewed ingredients impressed the judges.

Lucca headshot editedCatherine Oddenino and Ruthie Vishlitzky, owners of New York based Luca & Bosco, were finalists at the New York City event. Their commitment to using all natural ingredients for their high quality ice cream.

The winners from our regional events have been invited to compete  in the “Pitch Room” finals at the Boston Brewery on December 9th – stay tuned for more details and may the best pitch win!