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Jim Koch – Boston Beer Company

You could say beer is in Jim Koch’s blood. His father was a fifth-generation brewer but Jim left the family business as a few big brewers took over the market. Koch returned to his roots when he saw people were starting to crave something different. He dug out his great-great grandfather’s recipe and started brewing in his kitchen. Once his sample brew was perfected, he left his job as a management consultant, and went door to door to Boston bars trying to sell Samuel Adams Boston Beer Lager.

Today the company is the largest craft beer brewer, with over 30 different beer styles. It still uses all-natural ingredients, which Koch travels around the world to hand-select, and employs traditional brewing methods.

The hard work has paid off. The company says it has won more awards in international beer-tasting competitions than any other brewery in the world. It’s also is a money maker – The Boston Beer Companypulled in $513 million in net revenue in 2011.

Photo: Getty Images