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Old 08-07-2012, 01:32 PM   #211
ghpeel's Avatar
Jan 2009
Gainesville, FL
Posts: 1,214
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Anyone who thinks homebrewers are getting screwed by the Sam Adam's Longshot contest seriously overestimates the value of "ideas" in the marketplace. ("Ideas" roughly translating to "recipes" here)

Ideas alone aren't worth crap. Everyone has this idea that with one big idea, they'll be set for life. But just look at how business runs. One company gets a great "idea" and tries it out. If it works, it's immediately copied by all the competitors and then the REAL race begins: to find out who can best EXECUTE the concept. Execution trumps inspiration 9 times out of 10. You think Coke was the first Cola? Starbucks the first coffee house? The IPod sure as hell wasn't the first MP3 player and neither was the IPhone the first smart phone. Ideas are cheap, but great execution is expensive and hard.

In the specific case of beer here, it is absolutely ludicrous to think that Sam Adams didn't know what an Irish Red was before some poor oppressed homebrewer sent it in. Or a Munich Lager, or a Double IPA (all from the Longshot line). They could R&D-up any style of beer they want within a few weeks. The Longshot gimmick is a PR stunt essentially, because American's love the concept of amateur's winning national contests (think American Idol and all that crap).

And remember, whatever homebrew recipe that gets selected gets modified to hell and back to make it commercially viable for the Sam Adams production system. Huge breweries like that aren't just going to start sourcing expensive ingredients because the Longshot winner's recipe calls for "2% Light Carastan". No, they are going to throw in 2% of whatever 15L crystal they get the best discount on and call it a day. Furthermore, the mash chemistry is different, the yeast is UNDOUBTEDLY different, the fermentation schedule isn't what the homebrewer did and the starting water profile for Sam can be completely off what the homebrewer uses. So to assume that a Longshot winner's recipe is what you are getting in that 12 pack is just silly. It's about as close to the homebrew as are homebrewed clones of commercial beers (which is to say, in the ballpark, but RARELY spot-on exact copies).

Perhaps if your recipe used some super secret ingredient that mainstream brewing wasn't aware of (pig ears, dirt from Venzuela, burnt pancake crumbs, etc) then maybe I could understand wanting some credit, but come one, if I send in a Czech Pils thats 100% Pislner + Saaz, do you REALLY think Sam Adams should offer me up some kind of licensing deal to re-make that beer? That's just silly.

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Primary: American Pale Ale

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Old 08-07-2012, 03:12 PM   #212
Oct 2011
Ventura, California
Posts: 50
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Originally Posted by WhiskeySam View Post
Forget R&D. Forget I said it. It was a rhetorical flourish that is clearly distracting from my point.

Yes, I feel that it's entirely unfair to take a home brewers recipe, pay a small one time fee and then sell it forever as your beer without crediting the home brewer in royalty or licensing.

I'm not sure how you're in a position to guarantee anything about Sam Adams financial positions but you sound like you're really really sure. So there's that.

No. I don't have access to the SA financials. But I have been around long enough to know these marketing stunts are not for quick profit - they are for promoting the brand. They are in investment in Boston Brewing Company. I'm sorry. This is common sense.

You also asked what brewers give their recipes away.

Have you never heard of The Brewing Network - specifically the Jamil Show/Can You Brew It?

The vast majority of those shows involve homebrewers interviewing pro brewers and attempting to clone their beers. Dozens (hundreds?) of pro brewers freely divulge their malt bills, hop varietals/percentages, yeast strains, mash temps, fermentation procedures, dry hops, etc....

Sure, a few guys keep it close to the vest, which is their right. But the real reason they don't mind sharing it? Because it doesn't matter. Because you and I can have the same recipe and make entirely different beers. Because pro breweries don't care about someone else cloning their beer. And why should they?

Sorry for belaboring the point. I was truly just astounded at the thought process of entitlement that suggests the amateur brewer is getting screwed because they were lucky enough to win a contest and have their beer brewed nationally.

Sam Adams' beer isn't the most phenomenal or interesting beer on the planet. But they have done more to promote the craft beer industry than just about any brewery in the country. Oh, that we should all be so lucky to get screwed over by winning a national homebrew competition.

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Old 08-07-2012, 04:15 PM   #213
usfmikeb's Avatar
Jan 2011
Leesburg, Virginia
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They are a public company, their financial are available online.

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Old 08-07-2012, 04:32 PM   #214
Oct 2011
Ventura, California
Posts: 50
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Originally Posted by usfmikeb View Post
They are a public company, their financial are available online.

Their breakdown of profits vs expeditures for the Longshot competition are available online?

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Old 08-07-2012, 05:15 PM   #215
Jul 2012
Winchester, Ohio
Posts: 114
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I like Sam Adams. SA Boston Lager is my go to beer when we go out to dinner. Their Boston Lager and their Oktoberfest are the two beers that got me away from the BMC type beers and realized there were real beers out there. For a widely distributed beer company, I think they do pretty good. I don't like everything they make but overall I like them. I also like many of the Moerlein beers, some of which are made here locally.

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Old 08-07-2012, 05:17 PM   #216
FreshZ's Avatar
Dec 2011
St. Louis, MO
Posts: 334
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I think you are confusing Sam Adams and New Belgium. Everything except their Lips of faith series is a disappointment. I think most of these comments (craft brew gateway, middle of the road taste, etc) all apply to new Belgium more so than SA. I think they have a few normal beers that are decent, their imperial series are strong, and I have liked quite a bit of their new stuff (Tasman Red, Verloren, Griffin's Bow, Cinder Bock). They aren't great, but much better than new Belgium. IMO.
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Old 08-07-2012, 05:22 PM   #217
Mar 2012
Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Posts: 77
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They do make some amazing beers. Boston Lager and Noble Pills for instance.
Summer Lager I couldn't stand.
So it's like anyone else I think, some things we do are hit and miss and others are just according to personal taste.

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Old 08-07-2012, 07:33 PM   #218
LandoLincoln's Avatar
Feb 2011
Joliet, IL
Posts: 2,989
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Originally Posted by BeerLoverHere View Post
How the hell are they so popular and successful? I know marketing has a lot to do with it, but most all of their beers are awful and leave the nastiest aftertastes. It's just bad. I'm always suckered into buying something new of theirs and get pissed off thinking it'll be different, but it never is.
What on earth is the point of this? You expect everyone else to have the same tastes as you? Is someone going to come in this thread and convince you that your taste buds are the problem? Pointless. Utterly pointless.

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Old 08-07-2012, 11:03 PM   #219
Mar 2011
Dallas, Texas
Posts: 163
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There are good points RE: the contest and my thoughts about it. I'll let this one go. I have my thoughts about it, but I don't see why that particularly matters. We're all on the same team here.

Thank you for your input.
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In the Keg (3) -- Centennial IPA

Fermenting (1) -- Oktoberfest
Fermenting (2) -- ESB

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Old 08-07-2012, 11:31 PM   #220
Jan 2012
MOUNT VERNON, Washington
Posts: 18
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They have some decent brews. They have some I don't like at all. Overall their lager or noble pils are great for occasions when I need to buy beer at good price for more than just myself.

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