Why I drink Samuel Adams beer

Good... and good for you?
Good… and good for you?

When I worked at the Boston Consulting Group in the 1990s, the firm held internal quarterly conferences to present new insights and build a common culture among consultants. One of the best guest speakers was Jim Koch, a former BCG consultant who founded Boston Beer Company, maker of Samuel Adams. Jim’s insight was that there was room  in the market for a fresh beer made with premium ingredients. He converted that insight into a company that has been a driving force in the craft beer industry. Unlike any of our other speakers, he advertised his product by popping open a beer and drinking it while giving his talk!

Recently I’ve become alarmed at the use of certain food additives, especially artificial emulsifiers, but also others such as preservatives and clarifying agents. I’m worried that some of these products may be contributing to inflammatory bowel disease, metabolic syndrome and other health problems.

Two important components of my diet are ice cream and beer, so I wrote to my favorite companies to find out what they put in their products. Sadly, JP Licks includes artificial emulsifiers in their ice cream –although they are looking for alternatives.

But Sam Adams, did not let me down. Here’s what I received from them:

Dear David,

Thank you for your question regarding the ingredients in our Samuel Adams beer. When a drinker contacts us, we take their words as seriously as we take our beer. 

We do not add any coloring or preservatives to our Samuel Adams beer, nor do we use any adjuncts, which lighten and cheapen it. Our beers are made with all-natural, high-quality ingredients. Samuel Adams Boston Lager was the first American beer to pass the German Beer Purity Law also known as the Reinheitsgebot. The Reinheitsgebot requires German brewers to only use the traditional ingredients found in beer: water, malt, hops and yeast. Samuel Adams Boston Lager consists of 4 ingredients: Water, a special Samuel Adams blend of two-row malted barley, Bavarian hops, Hallertau Mittelfrueh and Tettnanger, and proprietary Samuel Adams lager yeast. To add additional complexity to our brews, some of our other recipes use spices or fruit (not to be confused with adjuncts) including vanilla, grains of paradise, cinnamon, chocolate, rose hips, and fruits like lemon zest, cherries, and orange peel.

Because we do not use any preservatives, we strive for freshness at Samuel Adams. This is why all of our beers have a freshness dating that gives a recommended date to consume by. Although beer doesn’t go bad in the sense that milk does, we believe freshness is a fundamental component of any quality beer.

We hope this answers your question. Thanks again for contacting us, and please continue to enjoy Samuel Adams beer knowing we use only the finest quality ingredients!


[Name redacted]
Consumer Response Representative

Image courtesy of nongpimmy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

April 1, 2015

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