(Boston, MA) – The Boston Beer Company today announced the national expansion of the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program. With a focus on helping small businesses related to food, beverage, craft brewing and hospitality, Brewing the American Dream provides loans and industry-specific coaching, mentoring, and educational resources to business owners who find it difficult to access the capital and guidance needed to sustain and grow their businesses.
While in the past only a handful of regions had access to the program, today’s national expansion of Brewing the American Dream will target at least $1 million in new loans, expanded for the first time to recipients across the country, with significantly increased access to its high-impact one-on-one mentoring and coaching activities. Additionally, the nationwide program includes the introduction of the new Brewing the American DreamOnline Community, the first online resource to provide small business owners in the food, beverage, and hospitality sector with a comprehensive platform of tools to help their businesses succeed.
Working in partnership with Accion, the country’s only nationwide microlender, Brewing the American Dream has already provided more than $1 million in micro-financing to close to 150 businesses, and created or saved nearly 1,000 jobs. Just as importantly, since it began a few years ago the program has offered one-on-one coaching and advised nearly 3,000 small business owners in the food, beverage, craft brewing, and hospitality industries throughout New England, New York, Chicago, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
Hands-On Education; An Exceptional Repayment Rate; and a Founder Rejected by Banks
“What differentiates Brewing the American Dream is the combination of loans and hands-on education,” said Jim Koch, brewer and founder of Samuel Adams. “Working with Accion, we identify small business applicants who are often viewed as too risky by traditional banks – yet at the forefront of job creation and growth within their local communities – and where a relatively modest loan can have a meaningful impact. From there, we get down in the trenches with them through one-on-one mentoring and coaching to help them grow their businesses.”
Koch noted that a key indicator of the program’s success is the fact that it is reporting a default rate that’s low by micro lending standards and certainly well below other programs.
“I think a large part of the program’s success is due to our ability to offer in-depth expertise and advice that comes from living and breathing the food and beverage industry every day. We understand the challenges because we’ve been there; I’ve been there. From being turned down by banks 28 years ago when I was just starting out and desperately needed funding, to figuring out how to distribute my product, I know firsthand
what these small business owners are going through and sincerely believe that Brewing the American Dream can help them overcome many of their obstacles.”
More Coaching and an Online Community
As part of its national expansion in 2012, Brewing the American Dream will extend its speed coaching events into Los Angeles, Denver, Washington, DC, San Diego and Austin. These events will also continue to be held throughout the year across New England, New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati and eastern Pennsylvania.
Additionally, a key part of the program’s expansion involves the Brewing the American Dream Online Community. Designed to grow and expand with the program, it is the first online network for small business owners in the food and beverage industry to provide various educational resources such as video tutorials, interactive discussion boards and forums, etc. While some reference material will cover general small business education topics including managing finances and business planning, the site will also focus on offering specific insights related to the food and beverage sector such as food and beverage packaging guidelines, and strategies for product marketing and distribution.
Lending To Small Businesses Stalled
“The lending environment is still challenging for a lot of small businesses,” said Gina Harman, president and CEO of Accion’s U.S. Network. “In fact, a recent study showed lending to small businesses has stalled and consequently small business growth may be slowing. The bottom line is that public-private partnerships that deliver real value to small business owners like Brewing the American Dream are needed now more than ever.”
Harman also confirmed the importance of the educational component of the program. “Since the Small Business Administration recently announced it will make cuts to its counseling and training programs that accompany microloans, it’s extremely important to have resources like Brewing the American Dream that can fill the education gap that’s so critical to small businesses success.”
About 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 soon became a catalyst of the American craft beer revolution.
Today, The Boston Beer Company brews more than 30 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 in the past five years has won more awards in international beer competitions than any other brewery in the world. As an independent company, brewing quality beer remains its single focus. Although Samuel Adams beer is
America’s largest-selling 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 www.samueladams.com/.
In seeking a partner for Samuel Adams’ Brewing the American Dream the company turned to Accion to facilitate lending to hardworking business owners seeking to grow. Since 1991, Accion has built the largest microfinance network in the U.S., comprised of five members, that have collectively provided loans and support to over 500,000 enterprising individuals. Accion provides affordable financing and support to everyday businesses, establishing a relationship with each customer and considers personal character alongside credit history in its lending process. Each Accion loan—which averages $7,500—fuels the creation and retention of more than two jobs, extending the organization’s impact beyond the borrower’s business to the community as a whole. To learn more about Accion’s work in the U.S. please visit us.accion.org.