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Selling the First Case

Koch hired a horse and carriage to help deliver the first cases of Sam Adams on Patriots' Day in 1984.

But for the most part, he kept his costs low during the early days. "It was started on a shoe string," said Koch, who raised about $240,000 from friends, family and personal savings to launch the business.

The company didn't have an office for the first six to seven months. Nor did it have a computer. Koch made calls from pay phones and held meetings at bars. For the first year, he stored and kept track of his customers' invoices in shoe boxes.

He didn't want to get ahead of himself.

"People tend to get hung up on the details of what I call 'playing company,'" Koch said. "A lot of businesses have gone broke and they had plenty of computers and accountants and nice offices, but they didn't have a product that people wanted to buy and they didn't have enough sales."

Photo: Boston Beer Company