This story is part of the Behind the Desk series, which reveals everything from how CNBC Make It forged a personal relationship with a successful business executive to where he is today, to why he gets out of bed in the morning, to his routine. Part of it.
38 years ago, Jim Koch set out to change the brewing landscape in America.
At the time, he was a 34-year-old Harvard graduate who quit his high-paying job to start Sam Adams, a craft beer startup in an industry largely dominated by foreign conglomerates, out of his family’s Boston kitchen. I tried.
Today, Koch is considered a pioneer in America’s thriving craft beer scene. He is the founder and chairman of Boston Beer His Company, the parent company of Sam He Adams, which employs more than 2,500 people and generates more than his $2 billion in annual sales.
The company has far surpassed his initial vision of becoming a small regional craft brewer with a handful of employees and annual sales of about $1.2 million, he says. But even now, he is wary of acknowledging success.
“Sam Adams is less than 1% of the beer business in the United States,” Koch, 73, told CNBC Make It. “So the reality is that after 38 years of considerable success, we basically went from tiny to tiny.”
Koch says he might have been happier in the long run had Sam Adams been smaller. For a year old, that’s an exhausting amount of travel.
“It’s a flip of the coin,” he told CNBC Make It last month, adding that each scenario would come with “different blessings, different curses.”
Here Koch discusses his process of becoming a role model for the modern American craft beer industry, how he overcame his own shortcomings as a manager, and the daily routines that help him focus on the “important” rather than the “urgent.” Talk about your morning routine.
Being a role model meant the craft beer movement needed to thrive: It ‘felt like destiny’
One of the blessings I’ve had because of Sam Adams’ success is this feeling that I’ve done something meaningful and important. Steve Jobs threw a stone into the universe. I put in a small, inverted, recessed pimple.
It’s something, even if it’s small.
I was able to pioneer a craft beer revolution that changed the face of American beer brewing. I come from his six generations of brewmasters. American beer brewing has been completely transformed by his craft beer revolution, which Sam Adams helped start and has led for 38 years. And for me, it’s personally really cool.
However, the original business plan did not envisage selling any meaningful volume outside of the Boston area. I thought it was a small local brewery. There were no successful craft brewers in America. They were all very local and hadn’t been raking in traction.
Role models didn’t exist at that point, and role models were needed. I was the only 6th generation brewer in America. And having this background in brewing and an education to see and do the opportunities felt almost like destiny.
So I was like, ‘I gotta get this ride to the end of the line. I gotta see where this goes. And it was fun!
On How To Overcome Weaknesses: “I’m Not Trying To Be A Good Manager”
I learned early on that I was not a good manager. I’m fine with that. Some are excellent managers. I am not one of them.
I’m not very good at following up, and I’m not very good at details. I’m not that organized. And I don’t really respect “process”. I don’t try to be a good manager. As Chief Executive Officer, I strive to have good managers.
You can draw a 2-by-2 matrix. One axis is “How much value does this activity bring to the company?” And No.2: “How much can I contribute?” I try to stay in the top right box where I can add a lot of value to the company. You can make a meaningful difference there.
Fortunately, I can always find enough to fully occupy as much time as I can dedicate.I still work 60 hours a week.
I spend a lot of time outside the office, working in breweries and markets. For me, that’s where the action is. This kind of direct contact with retailers, drinkers, distributors and our own team is invaluable in making good ground-breaking decisions. It’s about making the right decisions for the company, and I’ve learned that I can’t do that sitting in my office.
Hiring a good manager is much easier than hiring a good leader. My job is to lead the company and you have to lead from the front.
On his daily morning routine: “The day isn’t over until I do them and do them well.”
People often ask me, “You’ve been doing this job for 38 years. You’re not doing it for the money. What wakes you up in the morning?”
I get excited when I wake up in the morning. I get excited for Sunday night. Because I know it’s Monday when I wake up and I have to do something cool. It sounds a little sick, but it feels great.
Every morning, write down your three priorities for the day. So, I have three things to do today, and the day isn’t over until I get them done.
It’s a helpful habit because it keeps you focused. Some of them may be rather small, but they are important. But like today, at the end of the day we want to have a very meaningful conversation with our supply chain head. increase.
We tend to fill our days with urgency [matters]It’s a way to anchor your day to the things that matter, not the urgency.
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