One of the company's earliest milestones was the “Best Beer in America” award at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver in 1985. That award helped put Sam Adams on the map, sparking interest from beer lovers who hadn't heard of it before.
But the accolades had a downside: Demand increased and the company ran out of beer for its Boston area customers. It was an early lesson in understanding supply and demand. The company lost a few accounts and some customers were forced to wait a week until the next batch was ready.