Sam Adams founder talks “Brewing the American Dream”

(CNN) – The Sam Adams brewery has a program that gives loans and advice to small businesses. It’s called “Sam Adams Brewing the American Dream”.

Co-founder and chairman Jim Koch talked to Alison Kosik about this initiative, the company’s fundraising, and the surging popularity of craft beer.

Watch the video above for the interview, and the transcript of the interview is below:

So I am here with a Jim Koch, he’s the founder and chairman of Boston Beer Company, also known as Sam Adams, that’s how everybody recognizes him.  Let’s start with your “Brewing the American Dream” program that you have sponsored. It’s giving another one million dollars to small businesses this year. You’ve already given out three million dollars so far, why is this program so important to you?

Koch: “The Sam Adams ‘Brewing the American Dream’ program came out of my experience starting Sam Adams as not even a small business, we were infinitesimal. We were actually the smallest brewery in America when we started and there were a couple of things that I wish I’d had.”

“I wished I had access to loan money and I wished I had good ‘nuts and bolts’ business advice, so the Sam Adams Brewing the American Dream program makes micro loans to small up-and-coming businesses in food beverage and hospitality and then provides coaching and counseling on the practical things that a small business needs to do well to succeed. ”

“Banks, even the government, they don’t want to make loans below 50, 25,000 dollars because they’re not profitable, so ‘Brewing the American Dream’ program, it’s a philanthropic activity. We can’t make money on it, but we can create jobs and help small businesses grow and create economic development all over the United States.”

We talked to you last year shortly after the Boston Marathon Bombing and you created a beer to help out survivors.

Koch: “We’ve been a sponsor of the Boston Marathon for three years and we made a special marathon brew, a runner’s brew, that is little lower in alcohol, so it’s a great source of hydration. After the tragic events of last year, we decided to donate all the profits from our Sam Adams Boston Brew 26.2 to the marathon survivors and then a few weeks ago some of those survivors came to our brewery in Boston and brewed another batch of that beer with us that is now being sold along the marathon route and the profits again will go to the survivors.”

There’s been such a demand for craft beer from customers, from consumers; do you think this is kind of a bubble that’s going to burst? Is this a fad or is this a trend that you see growing?

Koch: “I’ve watched the growth in craft beer for 30 years now, and 30 years ago when I was brewing Sam Adams in my kitchen the word craft beer hadn’t been invented, there was just a handful of us. Well today there are two or three new craft breweries a day opening in the United States, yet all 3,000 of us only have 7 % of the market, so I think we can all double.”

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