BOSTON, April 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream today announced that it is expanding its program in the coming year and expects to lend another $1 million in microloans and increase its coaching and counseling activities. To date, the program has already provided nearly $3 million in microloans to more than 300 small businesses, and advised more than 4,000 entrepreneurs nationwide.
The program, inspired by Samuel Adams founder and brewer Jim Koch’s own experience starting a business, provides critical access to funding and expert business advice. Working in partnership with Accion, the nation’s leading non-profit provider of small business capital and coaching, Brewing the American Dream provides microloans ranging from $500-$25,000 to food, beverage, craft brewing, and hospitality small business owners. The innovative program also offers critical nuts-and-bolts business advice through its Speed Coaching events, ongoing mentoring, and Pitch Room competitions that are held in select cities across the country.
“The smallest businesses continue to face the same challenges I did when brewing my first batch of Samuel Adams Boston Lager in my kitchen 30 years ago,” said Jim Koch, brewer and founder of Samuel Adams. “Not only are traditional lenders still unable to lend to them because they’re viewed as too risky or their loan needs aren’t big enough, but also small business owners continue to be in need of real-world guidance and counseling. Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream remains committed to filling those needs through an impactful combination of financing and coaching that helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses and drive economic growth within their communities.”
Koch noted that while the success of the program could be measured by the number of jobs it’s helped create or retain (more than 1,900 to date) or its above-average loan repayment rate (98.1%), he’s especially pleased with its ability to help small businesses build their credit to secure larger loans.
“A great example is ice cream maker Halo Top Creamery in Los Angeles,” he said. “After receiving a loan and one-on-one coaching through Brewing the American Dream, the founders built-up their credit and were then able to secure a $250,000 loan from the SBA. Now they have a major contract with Whole Foods and are selling products in 36 states.”
Extending Business Coaching and Mentoring Activities
Brewing the American Dream will extend its Speed Coaching activities in cities throughout the country (http://btad.samueladams.com/EventsBusinessResources.aspx). In 2014 the program will host events in 14 locations including Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Lehigh Valley, Pa, Western Mass and Washington, DC – and for the first time in Philadelphia and Seattle.
Trudy Alston, owner of Harvest Time Cafe in Chicago, is just one of thousands of small business owner who’ve benefitted from the program’s Speed Coaching events. “I received a business education in a single night at my first Speed Coaching event,” said Alston. “I met with three or four coaches, and walked out of there with information on how to finally write my business plan and get all of the licenses I needed.”
Following Speed Coaching Trudy applied for and received a Brewing the American Dream loan. One year later she was able to open a storefront catering business with a take-out counter, and has plans to expand into a restaurant location and hire more staff.
In 2014, Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream will also hold its Pitch Room competition for the second year in a row to help food and beverage small business owners perfect the art of the sales pitch. The competition consists of four regional events across the country in which participants pitch their products to a panel of expert judges – including celebrity chefs as well as major retail buyers– and receive constructive feedback and advice (https://vimeo.com/81240010). Regional winners are invited to participate in the final competition for the chance to be named the 2014 national Pitch Room winner and receive a $10,000 business grant as well as extended mentoring and coaching from Samuel Adams.
This year, regional Pitch Room competitions will be held in Boston, Chicago, Denver, and New York with the final competition also in New York. Additionally, there will be a new online “Wild Card” component where small businesses from across the country can submit video pitches for consideration. The best pitches will be posted online and the public will be invited to vote for a “Wild Card” winner to compete in the finals alongside the regional winners.
Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream Model Grows
According to Gina Harman, president and CEO of Accion’s U.S. Network, the success of the Brewing the American Dream program can largely be attributed to its unique pairing of critical capital and business know-how. “Access to capital is only one piece of the puzzle. By pairing much needed financing with real-world educational resources through Samuel Adams employees and local business advisors, the program is able to equip small business owners with the tools they need to grow, succeed and realize their big dreams.”
Harman noted these types of programs continue to be extremely important given that the lending environment for the smallest businesses remains challenging. “Finding financing can still be very difficult for many entrepreneurs who are just starting out,” she said. “That’s why partnerships like Brewing the American Dream, that deliver real value to small business owners, are needed now more than ever.”
For more information about the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program, please visit http://btad.samueladams.com/.
Samuel Adams, Sam Adams, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, and Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream are registered trademarks of The Boston Beer Company.
About Samuel Adams and 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 50 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 is one of the world’s most awarded breweries at international beer competitions. 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.
About Accion in the U.S.
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. As the largest nationwide micro-and small business lending network in the United States, Accion connects small business owners with the accessible financing and advice it takes to create or grow healthy businesses. Since 1991, the five members of the Accion U.S. Network have collectively made over 48,700 loans, totaling over $394 million.
Additionally, over 400,000 business owners across the nation have turned to Accion for financial and business advice via workshops, online tools, and one-on-one consultations. Globally, Accion (www.accion.org) is a pioneer in microfinance, reaching millions of individuals through its international network of partners. For more information visit us.accion.org.
SOURCE The Boston Beer Company