Jim Koch & the Sam Adams Team Give Roc Brewing Co. Entrepreneurs a Rock Solid Opportunity

If you’ve ever known someone who has launched their own business, you know that getting their venture off the ground consumes every aspect of their life. It takes a lot of hard work, grueling hours, major sacrifices and relentless dedication.

As glamorous as it may sound, brewing the American dream is not an exception. Jim Koch, the founder of the Boston Beer Company, knows first hand just how challenging it can be. Koch remembers all of the obstacles he encountered when Samuel Adams Beer was still in its infancy. After finding it impossible to get the financial backing he needed, he brewed the first batches of Boston Lager in his kitchen. Believe it or not, his business didn’t become the largest American-owned beer company overnight.

Roc Brewing and Jim Koch

When I first met (and wrote about) Roc Brewing Co. partners Jon Mervine and Chris Spinelli a little over a year ago, they were still brewing in Chris’ parents’ kitchen (see the photographic evidence here).

Now they have a fully operational tasting room with nearly all of the brewing being done on premises. Their impressive beers are offered at bars and restaurants all over the city of Rochester, NY and there’s no doubt they’re off to a great start. However, as any young new business owner will tell you, they’re learning a lot of things as they go.

This past weekend at the Great American Beer Fest in Denver, Colorado they learned a great lesson lesson about paying it forward.

Jim Koch and his team announced that along with San Francisco-based brewer Jim Woods of MateVeza, Mervine and Spinelli are the first ever recipients of its Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream® Experienceship, a new mentoring opportunity offered as part of the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream philanthropy program. As a part of the program they will have the opportunity to visit the Samuel Adams Boston Brewery and meet one-on-one with employees from the Samuel Adams team on a range of brewing and business topics.

That’s kind of like a brand new film maker being able to say “I’m not sure how I should approach this one, let me call the head of Paramount Pictures and see what they suggest.”

“At its core, the culture of brewing and drinking craft beer celebrates camaraderie, collaboration and an independent minded spirit,” said Koch. “We expanded the Brewing the American Dream program in this same vein, in the spirit of helping fellow craft brewers. I’ve never forgotten how hard it is to get started, and how many barriers to entry there are in the business of brewing.
Roc Brewing Co. makes delicious beers – and the brewers themselves are extremely talented. I’m thrilled to be able to support and mentor them through the Experienceship and watch their breweries grow.”

As recipients, the Roc guys will receive qualified advice on sourcing ingredients, quality assurance, graphic design, accounting, legal, marketing, sales, distribution and more. They’ll participate in “Negotiation and Selling Skills” classes taught by the Boston Beer Company trainers and they’ll receive financial support to attend and exhibit at industry events and expos. If that isn’t roc(k) solid support, I’m not sure what is.

On behalf of the entire KegWorks team, I’d like to congratulate Roc Brewing on their success thus far, particularly this most recent achievement. I’d also like to propose a virtual toast to Jim Koch and the folks at Sam Adams for their incredible benevolence and their obvious commitment to the craft beer industry. It’s a beautiful thing.


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