Samuel Adams' Jim Koch: America envy of world brewers

Jim Koch on "CBS This Morning."
Jim Koch on "CBS This Morning."

(CBS News) Jim Koch, founder and chairman of The Boston Beer Company, began production of the Samuel Adams brew in his kitchen in 1984. Back then, he sold his Samuel Adams Boston Lager in about 25 bars and restaurants.

These days, his company produces two million barrels of Samuel Adams a year - about one percent of the beer market. Koch still considers his product a craft beer, and a part of the growing culture of beer connoisseurship emerging in the U.S.

"Beer is one of the great treasures of mankind," Koch said Tuesday on "CBS This Morning." "It's been with us for 12,000 years. It's been part of our civilization since people settled down into villages. And for many years in the U.S., it's become this kind of mass-marketed, mass-produced product, and it lost the dignity and nobility and respect that beer deserves, and I'm trying to bring back flavorful beer that will earn that respect."

Koch says his brew focuses on flavor, unlike the big guys in the industry who have, in recent years, looked for lighter and lighter tastes. He said, "I just wanted to find a little niche by making beer that had a lot of malt, a lot of hops, a lot of taste and went the opposite way of making lighter and lighter beer, making richer, more flavorful beer."

With the emergence of his company and other small breweries, Koch said quality beer has entered the mainstream of American culture. "I was making Sam Adams in my kitchen," he said. "And in this country, I had an opportunity to not only succeed as a business, but help create a beer culture in America that's really changing the way Americans think about beer."

He continued, "... America is the envy of brewers in the rest of the world. The craft brewing movement in the United States has spawned craft breweries in many of the traditional countries like England, or Germany, or Belgium, because they're going through now the same mass market consolidation with a handful of huge brewers. And in the rest of the world, the entrepreneurs are taking their inspiration from American craft brewers. We get German brewers coming to our brewery in Boston wanting to know, 'How are you doing this? This is really cool! We want to do this in Germany.'"

For more with Koch - including his critique of the beer produced at the White House - watch the video in the player above.