|Boston Beer founder Jim Koch (second from right) along with Brewing the American Dream beneficiaries Chris Spinelli (far left) and Jon Mervine (far right) of Roc Brewery and Jim Woods (second from left) from MateVeza visit the Sam Adams brewery.|
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Boston Beer Co. ( SAM), the maker of Sam Adams beer, is expanding its five-year-old initiative to help small businesses in the food and beverage industry with funding, coaching and other resources available from the $2 billion market cap brewery. Known as Samuel Adams Brewing The American Dream, the program is adding $1 million in funding for microloans targeting about 100 new small businesses through its partnership with non-profit lender Accion. Companies, including other craft brewers, can apply for microloans ranging from $500 to $25,000. All loan payments are recycled back into the fund. The brewery is also using the campaign to appeal to customers, asking them to support the financing of small businesses through its program "Raise a Pint, Brew a Dream." Starting today through May 31, for every Samuel Adams Boston Lager draft sold at participating locations nationwide, Boston Beer will donate five cents to the Brewing the American Dream microloan fund.
The program is also expanding its coaching and mentoring activities for small businesses. This year, Brewing the American Dream will introduce an event called the "Pitch Room" that will focus on helping small-business owners appeal to potential investors. Customers and small-business owners will have the opportunity to pitch their products to national retailers and restaurants. A select few will then present at a national competition, where they'll have the chance to win a $10,000 business grant and a series of personalized coaching and mentoring sessions with the staff at Boston Beer, including the company's founder, Jim Koch. The initiative "is a way of leveraging a couple million dollars' worth of loans and a lot of coaching and mentoring and counseling and transferring our business expertise to the people who are going to create jobs in the U.S.," says Koch, who adds that the initiative is a pet project for him.