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Jim Koch, founder and brewer of Samuel Adams  

What’s one piece of advice that’s stuck with you? “Not long after I started the company, I was talking with my uncle about buying a computer, and he asked me why I needed one. I said something to the effect of ‘to keep track of business and bills.’ Then he asked me if I had made any sales. At this point, all the distributors in Boston had turned me down. When I told him I hadn’t sold anything, he said, ‘I’ve seen a lot of businesses go broke, and they all had plenty of computers. Sounds like you better put some cold beer in your briefcase and go out and make some sales.’ And that’s what I did. For the first six months, not only did we not have a computer, we didn’t have an office or a phone, either. We focused on the essentials: making great beer and working our tails off to sell it. Thirty years later, our strategy is the same.”

Koch spearheads the company’s Brewing the American Dream program, which assists small businesses in the food and beverage industry through mentoring and financial assistance. Samuel Adams is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary.  

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