The Paradox of Popularity…

Unless you’re a brewer you probably missed the “Beer Advocate” thread last week bashing several craft breweries for being over-rated. Seemed to me the criticism was really about popularity not quality. Today’s craft beer lovers are on a hunt to discover the next new thing and, as brewers, most of us are trying to create interesting new beers.  That’s great – we all love making new beers – but that doesn’t mean that an established and successful beer is any less great because it’s been around for a while and has attracted a big following.

My friend Sam Calagione was one of the targets. I’ve known Sam a long time, and I’ve brewed beside him, so I know how innovative he is, and how committed he is to quality brewing. Dogfish Head beers are terrific. Period.  The sales of Dogfish Head have grown because the beer is crazy good.  Period.  No true lover of craft beer should have a problem with his success, in my honest opinion.Someone else dissed him because he had a TV show about his brewing adventures and his brewery.   Hey, Sam happens to be a very interesting and engaging guy.  And he works his ass off.  Because he has the energy and drive to get himself and DFH on the Discovery Channel, he has done all craft brewers a service. He was also promoting all craft beer through his efforts.  I thank him for doing that.  And if that means he was taking craft beer to the masses, more power to him. 

I remember, and survived, the years when craft beer was this odd little corner of the beer cooler visited only by homebrewers and crazy beer geeks that everyone else ignored.  That might sound cool and romantic.  Actually, it sucked.  It was hard to stay in business and many of the early craft brewers didn’t make it.  I think it’s great that craft beer has entered the beer drinker mainstream.  Craft beer has become popular today because craft brewers are making great beer.  I don’t know of any craft brewer who succeeded by selling out and making crappy beer.  I can think of some who failed by neglecting to make great beer.  Can I offer you a Pig Pounder?  Or a Brewski?

I took some offense myself from one lengthy post saying that Sam Adams used to be a great beer until they grew and started using cheaper ingredients and the quality slipped.  That pissed me off because it couldn’t be further from the truth.  I should know since I still select those ingredients.  Let me give you one example.  When we were much smaller, we selected our hops after the larger brewers had already made their selection, we accepted the same growing practices that everyone else did; we processed the hops in an industry standard procedure, etc.  Today, we’re the largest buyer of noble hops in the world.  So we select our hops first.  We’re important enough to our farmers to ask them to keep those hops on the vines longer to maximize the aromatic oils we want for Boston Lager.  We have a proprietary pelletizing process that requires freezing the hops down to forty degrees below zero to preserve the integrity of the lupulin glands. We couldn’t do those things when we were tiny.  Things like these may not be cool and cute but they do make better beer. I could go on and that’s just the hops.  And the same thing goes for other craft brewers.  Ask any craft brewer if his or her quality has improved or has declined as he or she got bigger or more established.  I know what the answer will be.

Brewing Savor Flowers in 2011

The fact is that it’s possible, even admirable, to grow beyond tiny while improving your quality. Sam Calagione did it, and I believe Sam Adams has done it. I think Samuel Adams Boston Lager is better today than it was in 1984 or 1995. And I think 60 Minute is better today than ever.  Thanks, Sam.

I remember losing a high profile Boston restaurant account in 1985. The chef/owner was upset because we had gotten “too big”.  At that point we were in eighty places in the entire world.  To him, that was too big. I realized that some people will judge you primarily on your size and availability, not on whether you make great beer.  So I decided to ignore people like that and grow anyway.  To me, great beer comes from the quality of the ingredients and the recipe, and the skill, passion and commitment of the brewer.  When I lose that passion and commitment, I’ll stop making beer.  It hasn’t happened yet.

We’re lucky to be in the middle of a big growth curve for craft beer and I’m glad to see the growth. Many brewers have worked very long hours for many years to get us to this place. Let’s appreciate the category’s growth instead of taking aim at honorable, independent brewers just because their beers have become well known or widely admired.

  • http://twitter.com/SudSavant Sud Savant

    Cheers! The proof is in the pudding! Other people might have strong feelings about thing, but feelings and emotions are not facts. Cheers Sam Adams! I’ll be cracking open a “Vixen” this weekend. :)

    • Rsnowbass

      All I’m saying is CRAFT has passed you both by….Give me RRBC, Give me Alpine, Give Me Kern, Give me Bell’s, Give me Founders…

  • http://twitter.com/lyfords Stephen Lyford

    Hear hear! Sam & Jim both brew delicious brews, and I hope they continue to do so for many many years. Because I’m going to be drinking them!

  • http://www.facebook.com/corycrane Cory Crane

    Personally, I’ve always found the beer advocate forums to be a bit pretentious. I’ve had many discussions with friends about how the first thing that pops into my head when I hear Sam Adams is “quality.” It’s hard to argue that Sam Adams isn’t passionate about what they do. I think the evidence is there from the marketing to the taste in the bottle.

    Ah…now i’m craving a Boston Lager.

  • http://twitter.com/CdrPOC Cdr. Pint O. Chug

    A better question than “Why do people hate on popular breweries?” is “Why would you bother reading these trolls’ drivel on BeerAdvocate?”

    I can’t believe you’re defending that Brewmasters show, though.

  • rditieri

    Nice to see someone speaking out on this subject, Jim – especially someone with as much experience and perspectives as you’ve had. You see the same thing in every industry – from music, to performance car tuning – some people can’t get past the idea that big = bad.

    To the right consumers, quality is what matters. Every industry has the trendsetters, the trend followers, and the actual independent public. Both you and Dogfish Head brew some absolutely world class beers and plenty of high quality accessible brews. You guys grow the industry, and together with the hundreds of startup breweries and nearly 2,000 other craft breweries contribute to the amazing selection of US brewed craft beer all the same.

    And, as the internet likes to say, often about the paradox of popularity, “haters gonna hate.”

  • BeerfortheDaddy

    What a fantastic post! Thank you, Jim, for all you have done, all you do, and all you will continue to do in the future. We ALL owe you a huge debt of gratitutde for your hard work all these years so we can enjoy the great beers from around the country that we do today. Cheers!

  • http://www.facebook.com/TommyBoy1343 Tom Wharton

    Fan of your brewery since inception however: of late pretty frustrated with the national marketing of your specialty brews (Infinium for example) yet zero availability. I don’t live in Boston but Gulf Breeze, FL (Pensacola) so what’s a thirsty man to do after being teased!!!! On a different note a hearty thank you for making great beers instead of mediocre or bad brews with great labels like so so many. Cheers!

  • Jamesriley72281

    I agree with almost everything you said. My only gripe is that I have to fault DFH a bit for almost over extending and making too many beers I feel. Their bombers are not cheap and I love trying Sam’s interesting new beers, but this year especially there were a few high profile releases he did that were widely agreed upon to be sub-par. At the price point it can hurt the wallet and leave a sour taste in a beer buyers mouth. That said, you can’t fault either of you two, you made this community what it is today and continue to support it more than people realize. I will admit I don’t normally reach for a Sam Adam’s brew but I will and have gladly defended you’re brewery on more than on occasion. Cheers!

  • Jon Boeckenstedt

    This should be required reading for any CEO or Exec who has to respond to lunacy. Excellent job. And awesome bier!

  • Andrew

    My tastes have changed and I’ve found niche beers that I prefer to drink most often and maybe they aren’t the same ones that I used to drink but in no way ever would I think to bash any of those breweries that got me started that are now the majority holders in the craft brew industry. I still revisit some of them from time to time and enjoy every sip. Thank you Sprecher, Sam Adams, Summit, Boulevard, Sierra Nevada, and Anchor for being there when i started, staying in it as I type this and for continuing to make great beer. Please ignore the little pip squeak BA minority community with their pretentious garbage. -Andrew

  • joe_chip

    As a 6+ year veteran of Beer Advocate, I am sorry to report that it has become a warren for the never-satisfied, Aspergers / Hoarder crowd who would rather complain and moan about beer availability, price, “recipe change”, “infected beers” (beers they don’t like) and so on and so forth. Much of the older crowd has fled for the Beer Spot and other sites. The site may be influential now, but won’t be forever, so just keep doing what you are doing and consistently making great beer and you’ll have the last laugh.

    Cheers!

    • Reader

      Agreed! 1,000 times agreed.

    • http://twitter.com/kingsaison M. K.

      agreed+1

    • Jguso

      I agree with everything minus your aspergers comment.

    • http://www.facebook.com/MatthewPatrickShaw Matt Shaw

      Totally agree — and that’s part of the reason I started http://www.unbrewery.com (all apologies to Jim for the shameless plug).

      It’s a shame, too, because beer elitism was exactly the thing that BA strove to quash. In 1996, it was silly to think that the big breweries brewed “better” beer than what craft brewers were producing — but the inverse was also true! Unfortunately, some communities have devolved into “us vs. them,” where the “them” is starting to include the larger craft brewers, which is even sillier.

      And how can anything with a fraction of 1 percent of market share ever be classified as “overrated,” anyway? It’s absolutely maddening.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000542535358 Alan Capone

      Ain’t that the truth LOL

  • Jacob Becker

    Perfect response Jim. I don’t care how big you or DFH get, the beer just keeps getting better and better.

    My only gripe: availability of some brews (*cough* Savor Flowers) and that we haven’t heard about a collaboration with Stone!

  • Mario

    I love your Beers and ales! DFH has 3 or 4 I love too. Even though a Lager is not my favorite style, Boston Lager is Excellent.

    Some of the posters on BA are very immature, opinionated and willing to express their ignorance on a lot of matters. There are however some very mature palates there that don’t make “dissing” comments just because they are bored.

    Thank you fotr defending the Craft Brewers . Maybe its about time to change the name to Master Brewers.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/terry_alexander/ Terry Alexander

    Slow building movie clap.

    Wonderful post. It’s refreshing to see Jim and Sam stepping up and defending their product and their passion. I think if more companies were not afraid to contradict a customer, or educate them on why they were wrong we would all be better off as customers. Thanks to both of you for standing behind your product.
    TA

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=585614895 April King

    I hear you, BA is chock full of plain old fashion jerks which is unfortunate because I am sure that is not what the Bros envisioned when they created it. I love going to BA for information, but have quit posting to the forums regarding anything that my opinion may be slammed, taunted or dismissed by some beer monger. Samuel Adams, DFH and many of the “big name” craft brewers are doing a fantastic job, don’t sweat the name calling out there.

  • Alan

    Proud to be BBC fan and shareholder. Thanks Jim.

  • Eamonnmurphy00

    Please keep doing what you’re doing, Jim. 99.9% of us appreciate it.

  • IKR

    No one who has seriously been drinking craft beer or microbrews as they were called back in the day for a significant length of time pays any attention to @#$ posts like the one in BA. It’s unfortunate that people find it cool to slam success. In 1994 when my buddy and I went to purchase Triple Bock, it involved a 15 mile trek to either one obscure liquor store or a local homebrew supply store. Both places were one of the few options for obtaining beer other than the mild lagers provided by the “Big 3” at that time. The success and popularity of pioneer craft brewers paved the way for the variety and accessibility of craft beer today.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jdauria Joseph Dauria

    Thanks Jim! You are spot on with your post. I’ve been drinking your beers since meeting you at a bar near City Hall Plaza in the ’84 or ’85 when you were just beginning and we going bar by bar to sell it. Sam Adams was great then and it’s great now, keep up the good work!

  • Janis Carter

    I will be appreciating your hard work in just about 3 hours from now :-). Thanks!

  • TheBrumami

    Personally I think the Sam Adams winter pack was the best mix I have ever had from the brewery. You guys just keep getting better. I love the new creativity in brewing, but some experiments need to be left on the work bench. With the high prices that are being charged for these special concoctions, it is no wonder that people get upset when they are not great. Saddly I have to say that Savor Flowers is likely the Sam Adams beer I liked the least. Of course as with everything on BA we are talking personal opinions, which are nothing compared to real sales/growth. Long live craft beer.

  • http://profiles.google.com/dwtaxguy Dale Wiebe

    I couldn’t agree more. I had the pleasure of drinking an Alpine Spring and a DFH Namaste last night. Both were on tap at Mellow Mushroom in Winter Park, Florida. This is a great time to be a fan of craft beer, let’s enjoy it and toast the success of all of the brewers who are making the beers that we love to drink.

    Cheers Jim! Thanks for everything you’re doing.

  • Michael H – San Francisco

    I can’t think of anything that would make me happier than to see craft breweries grow to the level where quality made delicious craft beers can be sold at the same prices and availability as the MBC’s! I hope you continue to grow to a level where you just can’t make any more beer without compromising the quality and stop right there.

  • Hutch

    Sam Adams had a hard time getting started in Portland Oregon because they were a contract brewer.The local craft breweries really pushed that fact and retailers bought into the nonsense. Sam Adam’s beers were just as good if not better because they used Blitz Weinhards brewery. A better facility, better bottling line than the Portland Brewing, Widmer Brothers, Bridgeport, who found there bottling line in a field.
    Blitz Weinhard’s brewery the oldest brewery in the West is now a restaurant.

    Jim Koch never backed down in his pledge to make the best beer he could and is still blazing trails in the beer industry.

  • April M.

    Thank you and Sam for your responses to that BA thread. The hate was a’ flowin’ for any brewery who dared to grow & supply more of their product to the masses. For many BAs out there, this means that the potential trade value becomes diminished. Those are the folks who are into commodities trading. For the rest of us, I encourage craft breweries to continue expanding & experimenting, even if its not to everyone’s taste. Thanks, again!

  • Mike Landry

    Amen. That’s all I have to say.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507864285 Steve Walsh

    For me at least, the problem of a popular beer isn’t one of “lower quality” its a problem of consistency… it’s to consistent!

    When I find my self coming back to beers, it’s because at one point I had the best beer I’ve ever had. I keep coming back to that beer hoping it will taste like it did that one time. Big consistent beers don’t have that, I know that the one i’m drinking today is going to taste exactly like what i’m drinking tomorrow.

    • Shooter57

      Steve, that’s a great point. That’s exactly why I come back to Samuel Adams Imperial Series. It was, for me, the “Wow Factor” with the first sip of their Wee Heavy; then I tried the Imperial White, and more “Wow Factor”. To your point, I absolutely agree that consistancy in taste is vitally important.

  • KNFigura

    If I had ANYTHING to complain about in terms of Dogfish Head, it would be that I would love to see some of their lower ABV beers in the stores. I had a limited release summer beer on tap 2 years ago in Rehoboth….and it was perfect!

  • Rick

    I’m sorry, but your post is based on a logical fallacy. DFH and Sam Adams weren’t criticized for being too big and therefore “uncool”, they were criticized because most beer nerds feel like the products put out by Boston Beer and DFH are inferior compared to other craft breweries. There are plenty of big breweries (Sierra Nevada, Stone, Deschutes, Brooklyn) that generally have a ton of respect from the beer nerd crowd despite the fact that they’re big.

    • blakex

      You must have missed the thread on BA then. Pretty much every brewery was called out as being “over-hyped.” The Bruery, Russian River, Three Floyds, Cigar City. It was pretty insane and while everyone is entitled to their opinions, but just because a brewery has grown doesn’t mean their quality has declined.

      • Rick

        Yes, I saw the thread, and have seen numerous others just like that over the years. I am very aware that every single brewery worth noting have been on an “over-rated” thread, but some are generally listed more than others. Jim’s post claims that the criticism was a result of those bashing the big guy, when in reality the criticism were those who don’t think the quality is up to snuff.

    • tom

      as a fellow “beer nerd” i can honestly state that you are wrong.

      SN, Stone, Deschutes– Deschoots or whatever (still not in the northeast as far as i can tell) makes quality brew, but you’re crazy if you think Jim’s post was based on a “logical fallacy”. i really don’t see the fallacy anywhere in Jim’s post. apparently these beer nerds you mention didn’t enjoy fresh Noble Pils or have enjoyed an Octoberfest during the fall.

      if you can’t enjoy at least a couple of beers that Sam Adams puts out then i truly believe you are completely jaded.

      • Rick

        Jim is guilty of the straw man fallacy. The content of the thread, right or wrong, mostly bashed the QUALITY of Dogfish Head and Boston Beer’s products. Jim’s post states that the negative comments have to do with the SIZE of DFH/Boston. This blog has a nice write up: http://beernews.org/2012/01/straw-man-argument-re-surfaces-in-response-to-overrated-thread/

        • TheBeerSpotIsBetterThanBA

          I’d reply is that Jim addressed the quality in his post. He even went so far as to point out that he felt that the quality argument was where the fallacy lies.

          I was linked to that BA thread and didn’t read all of it because it devolves into a bunch of useless ignorance. Most BA threads seem like that for me these days and I’ve got much better things to do than waste my time on a bunch of petulent, whiny geeks.

          SA and DFH beers are OBVIOUSLY not lacking in quality, but since they are the unknown band you used to love, until they became popular and well known, they now get dissed. That was Sam’s argument. And he clearly refuted the ignorance that is spewed over there.

          Did you READ what he wrote about how things used to be versus how they are today? Does that SOUND like the quality is lower? Who is using the straw man argument? It’s the whiners on BA.

          The fact of the matter is, quality brewers who have “made it” in the craft beer world get ignored or down right disrespected in the geek community. It’s sad too. And I’ll freely admit that I’m guilty of overlooking so many of the more available beers, in the hunt for new and different experiences. But when I walk into that little establishment that offers very little variety, you can bet your ass that I am THRILLED to find a Boston Lager or ANYTHING better than three or four different, typical, light American lagers.

  • Sean9820

    Real, not trendy, beer drinkers have and always will appreciate your company Mr.Koch. You’ve revolutionized the beer industry and have helped foster the incredible surge of brewery’s and offerings we most certainly now take for granted.
    Cheers, Sean.

  • Keffa

    You want to know why the beer geeks on BA don’t like BBC and DFH? Because your beers aren’t rare enough. If they can easily obtain something, it’s not good enough.

    Screw the geeks, I’ve had some damn good beers from both Jim and Sam. Do I prefer other breweries most of the time over BBC or DFH? Sure. But do I appreciate what they’ve done for the industry and for beer in general? You can put money on it.

    Jim, I do have one word of advice though:

    Don’t feed the trolls.

  • Donodontcare

    Its the same old story, the idiots in charge aren’t the best quallified! Anyone who has ever tasted a sam and didnt like atleast 1 thing about it is not a “”beer”” drinker no matter what the flavor. If it didn’t have a dog,a ship or a windmill in the commercial they couldn’t tatse the differance. (idiots) Taste isnt about a commercial, or the funniest commercial. But i guess you learn that as you grow up!

  • Keithmc

    Great story Jim. I only drink craft beers some I love some not so much. But I enjoy trying new beers that come out. Keep up the great work and I’m glad your big enough to get Sam Adams out to Cali. Thank You Keith McCabe

  • Treyliff

    I completely agree Jim. This reminds me of the same bias in fans of metal music. They love you until you become hugely successful and mainstream, then all of the sudden you are not heavy enough, or you’ve went downhill.

    Sam Adams introduced me to craft beer and I have been a fan ever since. And for that, I thank you.

    • Dan

      Amen. Can you say Metallica? What some metal fans forget is, that their favorite underground band wouldn’t exist without Metallica. Same can be said of craft beer and Sam Adams. Sam Adams blazed a trail that others have followed.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/HMFUMARD6NVK6BHD3YU3BLXIJU Dave B

    Lived back in Boston in ’86 and would always enjoy Boston Lager starting at lunch on Fridays at my 1st real job ( back when you could do that kind of thing). Thank you for getting me to actually taste beer.

    Now I live right on the banks of the Deschutes River and usually enjoy the “home team’s” beers. But tonight I will go out and get some of your beer as a thanks and perhaps remembrance of how good it was and how much better it is.

    Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/theCraftBeerGrl the Craft Beer Girl

    It’s sad to see people out there knocking breweries that achieved some level of success, because that’s not what craft beer is about. The spirit of craft beer is ripe with innovation, collaboration, and camaraderie. These guys (and girls!) do what they do because they’re passionate about beer and it just kinda sucks that people, particularly those within the craft beer community, would spend their time trying to diminish the accomplishments of any brewery that’s trying to succeed in making good beer, especially when craft brewers still hold such a small piece of the pie.

    The growth that craft beer is experiencing in the mainstream market will inevitably attract critics. I’m proud to see brewers that are willing to stick to their guns and stand up for the beer they make as well as fellow craft breweries. Thanks Jim, for keeping the spirit alive.

  • Philmagnifico

    I am a member of Beer Advocate and I cannot think of a single brewery that has not been tooled on at some point. I still encourage friends to join and give honest reviews of anything they drink regardless of what others on the site think. Hopefully someday there will be enough honest assessments and plain brokers to rescue the site from the perpetually dissatisfied.

    As far as Sam Adams goes the best way you can improve you reputation in my household is to get brewing a Black IPA. I’ve been loving the style this past year. Let’s get cracking Jim. You’re killing me holding back on your take on this style. Your brewing colleagues on the other side of Beantown at Harpoon just released a good one. Pick up that guantlet and takje up the challenge. I know you have a white IPA on the way. Let’s get that companion black on the shelves.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Maehl/100000208085234 Steven Maehl

    Well said Jim!

  • Gcbear52

    I thank you guys and others like sierra nevada for introducing me to craft beers. I am still a fan of you and many more. The bigger brewers become the better they and all the rest become. Competition makes you stronger. The winners here are people like me who enjoy the creativity of the big guys and the little guys. Thank you very much.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=531126522 Benjamin King

    Jim,

    The best day of my beer drinking life was when you showed up at WBCN-FM one afternoon with a backback of beer on your back and cups for everyone in sight. I also enjoy your Barrel Room series, don’t stop! Don’t ever stop.

  • Adam

    Well I can’t say that I have ever read Beer Advocate, and I probably never will. I don’t need snooty pseudo-intellectuals telling me what to drink, and I don’t generally agree with their taste. I suppose it was only a matter of time for the beer snobs to catch up with the wine snobs.

    I do remember the days before Samuel Adams hit the market, when pretty much all American beer tasted like Bud or Miller Light…and Jim, my friend you changed all all that, and helped trigger a rebirth of craft brewing in this country. All of the variety we beer drinkers enjoy today is largely due to your efforts. And, in my opinion, Sam Adams Octoberfest is the best beer in America and among the best in the world.

    DFH makes some nice beers, but I prefer beers that are more balanced and DFH hops their beers a bit much for my taste.

    Anyway, I am and always will be a fan, and in your debt. Peace!

  • Shooter57

    I’m a recent fan to Samuel Adams Wee Heavy. This is like no other Scottish Ale I’ve ever tasted, and am glad to have found it. If you’re as tired of beachwood aged and rocky-mountain types as I am, this brings a multi-layered level of complexity of flavors into play, in my opinion.

    At first I thought this was going to be something like Guinness black lager; but I was pleasantly surprised! I love the taste of deep, rich, caramelised smokey flavors… and in my opinion, a little “salty-sweet” play on the taste buds with no bitterness or disappointment.

    I’ve since tried the other “Imperial Series” products such as “Imperial White” (my 2nd favorite), as well as the Imperial Series “Double Stout” and I really enjoy them as well.

    My “Hat’s Off” and my personal “Thank you” to Samuel Adams for their Imperial Series.

  • Mike

    I hate to break it to you Rick, but those breweries were criticized too. In fact, a few were brought up before SA or DFH. I feel that most “beer nerds” have respect for these big breweries. It’s the “vocal” ones who hang out on their keyboards all night trying to impress each other who give us a bad name.

  • Matt

    Thanks Sam,
    It is nice to hear some good insight from a person such as yourself. While I don’t care too much for your beers, or that of Dogfishead; I do think that your beer and DFH’s are integral to the craft beer community. Sam Adams and DFH make good beer (most of it though, is not to my liking, save Midas Touch and Campfire rauchbier), there’s no denying that, just look at sales and reviews from other people. Just because the super beer geeks can’t stand DFH or Sam Adams doesn’t mean that others shouldn’t. If it wasn’t for Sam Adams, Mendocino Brew Co, and Sierra Nevada, I would have never started drinking craft beer. And for that, I thank you.
    -Matt

  • http://www.facebook.com/dallas.wiebelhaus Dallas Wiebelhaus

    All the people here are just assholes Jim is correct.

  • Jimmy

    Thank you Jim for backing Sam up on this! You guys have every right to get as big and as successful as you want. This is America afterall. After reading the BA thread, what I perceived was that people were bashing the “quality” of DFH and other breweries, but they were probably confusing their taste with quality. Not every craft beer lover is going to love every craft beer. Especially when it comes to DFH because Sam likes to go a little out of the box. Just because a beer doesn’t taste good to you does not mean that it is of poor quality or the brewer sold out because that beer didn’t cater to your specific taste. If you don’t like a beer then just don’t drink it. But don’t go after these breweries for being successful and wanting to expand. Personally, I wish more craft breweries could expand because where I live my selection is quite limited and I don’t get to try as many as beers as I’d like to! So anyone who lives in a market with DFH and they think it is overhyped overrated or poor quality can trade with me, because I wish I could get it whenever I wanted!

  • Beejay

    You just keep doing what you’re doing.

  • ScrubbyATL

    Go git ’em Jim! Yours is an always welcomed addition to our beer cart. Couldn’t love you more, big or small. There are beer snobs and beer enthusiasts. I put myself in the latter category, and all the stupid hipster-beer-doofii out there can go ahead and complain all they want. Leave it all for me, I will happily drink it for them!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1600458505 Herb Cameron

    Sam Adams, Harpoon, and Smuttynose thankfully started my quest for great beer. While at least two of those have grown quite large, I can unequivocally state that the quality has never gone down. In fact, Harpoon is still my baseline for IPA comparisons and I have yet to find another beer that comes remotely close to Boston Lager in that style. I’m having difficulty even understanding the small minds that would argue about craft beer issues when there is such a volume of swill still dominating the American market.

  • itsratso

    whether it’s beer, music, movies, whatever there will always be a small but vocal group of people that will always try to tear down any thing that grows in popularity. it’s just snobbery, always wanting to be ahead of the curve, cutting edge, more “in the know than you” … blah blah blah.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nicholas-Bromine/100001400038827 Nicholas Bromine

    A lot of people in that thread seem like snobs. If it’s not a boozy or rare style of beer from an extremely small brewer, then it’s on some sort of lower level that is for craft beer newbies. Seeing the worst aspects of wine culture growing in beer culture is depressing.

  • Farris6

    Does Samuel Adams us ACP (silica Injection) in any of your products?

  • Greg

    wow, paid 188.00 for a 20011 bottle of utopia to go with the two bottles of 2009’s I have. and to get the free 18.00 glass, I have to pay 12.56 shipping. thats garbage. wont be buying any more Utopia’s tight ass’s! your not my favorite brewery anymore. will be mentioning this on my beer review channels too. more money, more money, and more money, your gouging.. I’m done!! you have lost a fan. Gregsbeerreviews!!

    • itsratso

      soooo lets get this straight. you are complaining that the shipping for the glass with your $188 bottle of beer costs too much. which is proof that you no longer like the brewer. but of course, you also use their forum to get the name for your stupid youtube channel out there. got it. now go away.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nicholas-Bromine/100001400038827 Nicholas Bromine

      You ought to phone or email their customer support instead of dumping your complaints under a blog post.

  • Gerry in Hamburg

    I am disapointed, with the winter season only 1/3 over, that Winter Lager has started to disappear in the Buffalo, NY area. The Super Bowl with no Winter Lager. Your competitors will get my winter beer money for the rest of the winter season.

  • Luap

    Really interesting debate. I have to admit … I used to be one of the people that wouldn’t drink BBC beers because I felt the brewery had gotten too big. Boy was I wrong! The Oktoberfest, Winter Lager and Chocolate Bock are some of the best beers I’ve had this year. And, yes, Sam, 60 Minute is the best lower ABV IPA ever! Kudos to you and DFH … if it weren’t for you guys I’d still be drinking the same crap I had to drink 30 years ago (which, coincidentally, was when I stopped drinking beer for several years). Thanks for your contributions to the success of craft brewing.

  • Pafrye

    As a Beeradvocate member, I will be happy to let to let Jim know , if he hasn’t seen it, that there are a LOT of supporters for Dog fish head and Sam Adams one BA, if he wants to take a look at the response to his blog post on BA. Alot of people agree that both breweries make great beers, and that the “bigger is sellout” mentality is not constructive or accurate. Thanks for making creative and well rounded beers that build up the beer craft. I loved the infinium and winter pack this year, and look forward to many more new and standard classics this year.

  • binkiebink

    Is a Cicerone becoming a high demand profession?

  • http://www.beerreviewsprofsudz.com/ Professor Sudz

    Great article by a guy who has made many great beers and whose brewery was one of the reasons craft beer was able to get a foothold.

  • Travis

    Respect good beer. Bottom Line.

  • alcaponejunior

    Great blog. I enjoyed a Boston Lager whilst reading it. And I have two Dogfish Head beers in the fridge right now, and five gallons of homebrew almost ready to bottle. Way to go.

  • Brooks

    Is it possible to buy a pallet (or 2) of Noble Pills?

  • psychobueller

    I have the good fortune of living in Delaware, so I have been able to get DFH beers for a long time. Sam is a great advocate for craft brewing, and he experiments and takes risks.

    Jim, kudos for speaking out honestly in plain language. You show that you have not become a corporate suit. You obviously still have a passion for brewing beer. To the snobs – STFU! You are living in a renaissance period for craft beer and snobbery does nothing to help the cause. I for one think Boston Lager is the absolute best go-to beer that I can find pretty much anywhere, and that is a GOOD thing.

  • http://twitter.com/ben_little ben_little

    Jim, well said. We’re doing a beer case study with Alan Newman this week in a graduate business course on innovation, so I’ve been thinking a lot about this space. It is a really complicated market, with a lot of complex dynamics (consumer identity, brewer experimentation, mature market players alongside ever-expanding new entrants, a very varied ecosystem.) I suspect there is something to people boosting their own self-image by dismissing the popular. You see the same thing in music; when an “independent” band gets enough followers, they are suddenly not a niche and, thus, not cool.

    Sam Adams, Dogfish Head, Stone, and many others mentioned on that thread didn’t grow to the size they are by wrapping good labels on bad beer. But they did grow, and perhaps that is what they did wrong in the eyes of those hipper than I.

  • Matt

    It is unfortunate that some people think that because a brewery has been commercially succesful, that it has somehow compromised its quality or “craft-ness”. I took a tour of the Boston brewery last year, and what they’re doing there is just as “craft” as any of the other places I visited (Steam Whistle and Mill Street in Toronto, Ontario, and Quidi Vidi in St. John’s, Newfoundland). No signs of compromising quality (or creativity).

    Unrelated…any chance you guys will send some Cherry Wheat to St. John’s? Loved that stuff!

  • Mark L

    Amen Jim. Boston Lager is the best thing to ever happen to beer. I’ll name my first born Boston Lager. I’ll order a Boston Lager for my last meal. I’ll vote Boston Lager for president. Boston Lager should have a star on the Walk of Fame. Boston Lager should get a Nobel Prize. God will serve Boston Lager in heaven. Space aliens will trade the secrets of world peace for Boston Lager. Chuck Norris’ beard drinks Boston Lager. Sliced bread is the greatest thing since Boston Lager. Boston Lager cures cancer.
    Most importantly of all, Jim Koch makes Boston Lager.

  • Thomas Hutcings

    Sirs, I think most people are getting tired of “citrus” beer. As a social brewer i and my friends really enjoyed my cherry ale, again not a citrus, as a wounderful change. It makes a great fall bev as well as everyday. Please consider this as I realize you have some of the BEST BREWERS IN THE WORLD!

    Thanks from a consumer and best regards,
    Thomas Hutchings
    thutchings19@gmail.com

  • Soundartifacts

    Hi Jim…I’m having a tough time contacting your Marketing department. I represent a musical group that recorded a song that would be perfect for your Summer Ale. I know you would love it when you heard it. Please contact me at soundartifacts@gmail.com. Thank you, Mike

  • Mavajo

    I think Jim misses the point a bit. Some people do have an arbitrary dislike for DFH and BBC because of the mythological “sellout” factor. That’s just plain stupid. But that doesn’t mean everyone that dislikes BBC and DFH does so for arbitrary reasons. I find BBC to be exceedingly mediocre. Better than the BMC’s of the world, but a huge step down in quality from most of the better craft breweries out there. And when I say “quality”, I’m not referencing the ingredients — I’m talking about the finished product. BBC beers are largely mediocre. They’re not bad, but they’re not great. They walk that line between “Better than BMC” and “Not so different that it’ll shock a BMC drinker.” Most of BBC’s creative beers are just awful — Chocolate Bock or Cranberry ‘Lambic’ anyone?

    With all due respect to Utopias (which I’ve never tried because of its egregious price tag), DFH’s top five beers blow away anything that Sam Adams brews on a regular basis. My only qualm with DFH is sometimes they try weird crap just for the sake of trying weird crap. It’s like the real goal is to imperss you with the bizarre recipe or ingredients, and the taste is kind of an afterthought. I know the taste obviously isn’t an afterthought — but the finished product kind of gives you that impression sometimes.

    Anyway, I think BBC is overrated simply because the beers aren’t very good. They don’t make a single beer that impresses me. I drank Noble Pils with regularity at restaurants — but that had more to do with the dearth of good beers at restaurants, more so than anything special about Noble Pils.

    But whatever. BBC makes world class beers that are hated for completely arbitrary reasons! That’s much more logical, right?

    • Doc

      While on the other hand, my wife -loves- the Chocolate Bock and enjoyed the Cranberry Lambic. So I would completely disagree with you on your belief that they are “just awful”. I wish they were available outside the holiday pack so we could stock up.

      Most of the beers produced by Sam Adams (non flavored types) are higher in hop flavor than I prefer. That doesn’t make them awful or even bad, it makes them different. My brother *loves* the hop flavor, after a long day at work he’ll stop by here and down a Boston Lager in one gulp, then follow that with another that is savored. We’ve been laying in the 28 bottle cases just because the Boston Lager is so well liked by my brother and our friends.

      I am so glad I got rid of the keg, which limited us to one beer over and over, and replaced it with a mini-frig so we could have a variety. Mostly though, we buy Sam Adams products because of the quality and flavor, even though I am not a fan of the hop flavor, not all the varieties are that strong or the other flavors really make the hops “sing” for me.

      I’d like to see the coffee based beer available in 6 packs, I *love* coffee and really liked the treatment of it in the Black & Brew Coffee Stout. AWESOME brew!!

      I would say that some do “hate” beers for arbitrary reasons, in fact I’d say that is more common than people who like or dislike for actual reasons. I know people who “hate” a beer because of environmental stance, which driver they support in Nascar, or any other non-beer related reason.

  • Cable99

    Couldn’t find a “contact us” so I’ll leave my comment here. I am …tight on money so buying fancy beers is a rare treat. I purchased one of the Craftman’s mixed 12 pack this weekend and it included the Whitewater IPA. If you guys want to keep your reputation unsullied-get rid of that. It smelled like old gym socks and tasted like armpit sweat smells. I was extremely disappointed as I love a good IPA and appreciate many of Sam Adams’s fine brews. The Alpine Spring is fantastic, for example. But the Whitewater-hey, this isn’t about personal taste-I opened the bottle and had my wife smell it and she immediately reacted in a forceful and negative way(that’s the PC description-what she said was WTF is that?)

  • Wbtyson_2009

    Congratulations Jim,
    Your “Noble Pils” can easily compete with the ! Best !- “Pilsner Urquell” -” Becks” – “Heiniken”!!! You should put an international label on it -“five green stars outlined in gold underlined with five hop buds . In the middle “Boston’s or Massechusette’s State Seal” and of course your Name! I have lived in Europe over 20 Years, mainly in Germany. Been to other European Beer Countries, best example – ” Czech Republic -Pilsen ” the Home of the Pilsner. Have also been in England and Scottland. There is only One that can stand next to your “Noble Pils” and that is “Pilsner Urquell” because of its Natural and Soft water! Yours is richer though! Happy Easter,Jim,may the Lord be with you.

  • SamuelAdams

    Aloha Jim,
    I just felt the need to tell you that You and Your Brewmasters create some of the BEST BEERS that this beer drinker has ever had the pleasure of drinking. Lately I’ve been hooked on your -small batch- series of beers. The complexity and depth of these brews are mind blowing !! I’ve found that my taste buds wants more than what alot of people call “great beers” like Heiniken, New Castle, Guiness, Killians Red, etc. have to offer.
    Jim, you guys are BADASS and your BEERS speak for itself !! You don’t need to explain to the few close minded haters out there in beerland, all you need to do is continue to create GREAT BEERS and get them to Hawaii quicker so I can enjoy them just as everyone on the Continental US. is….PLEASE.

    Mahalo and Aloha,
    Samuel Adams
    (Winner of Boston flyaway 2004)

  • Alfred “Ed Moch” Cota

    Hello Jim… Some years ago I left a blog on one of your blog locations, with no response? I was most sincere and serious that in my geneological chart, I am a direct 2nd. Cousin 3x to Samuel Adams… no joke?I also go by the name of Alfred Costa (aka: Rev. A. Edward Moch D.D.). Yes… my last name “Moch” is real too. So… being that I enjoy your various brews, I openly promote the fact of my being who I am and how I sometimes have to explain that both you and me are Cousins to Sam, especially that I work in the film/TV Industry etc. Google my name to find out. If we are related, would like to share some stories with you.

    Best Regards;

    Al

    aedwardmoch@yahoo.com

    Check also FaceBook