- The Washington Times - Monday, July 29, 2002

Retail & Hospitality

Jim Koch, founder of Samuel Adams Boston Lager, is turning to the lighter side of the beer business.
Today, Mr. Koch, who is chairman of the Boston Beer Co., is introducing Sam Adams Light to the Washington area, a market that welcomed the original Sam Adams taste with open arms more than 15 years ago.
"The D.C. market was one of the first adapters of Sam Adams," Mr. Koch says. "It's a very sophisticated beer market."
Washington is one of a handful of markets that will carry the light beer before it is rolled out to the rest of the country by the fall.
When Samuel Adams was introduced in the mid-1980s, "people were shocked that a domestic beer could taste like this," Mr. Koch said. "People now understand the quality of Sam Adams."
Mr. Koch expects to have an easy job marketing the light beer compared with the days when his two-person, unknown brewing company tried to break into the domestic beer market.
With more than 350 employees and more than 1.2 million barrels of beer brewed annually, the company reported $207 million in sales last year.
Mr. Koch expects the same results from his light beer as he had with the lager. In fact, he expects sales of his publicly traded company to increase anywhere from 15 percent to 45 percent with this new brew.
"It's not like Sam Adams lager's baby brother," Mr. Koch says. "I developed [Sam Adams Light] from a clean sheet of paper how can I make a good beer that can't be filling and has a clean, smooth aftertaste?"
Mr. Koch thinks he has found the answer after testing 23 batches of beer over two years and settling on a winning recipe.
This isn't the Boston Beer Co.'s first venture into light beer. It offered a beer called Lightship from 1987 to 1998, but it was "not very successful," Mr. Koch says.
"It was the wrong beer at the wrong time," he says. "That was Sam Adams' younger brother, and that's not what people wanted in a light beer."
The new light beer was tested in Rhode Island and Maine last year and has rolled out gradually into other markets. Sam Adams Light is venturing next to Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Sam Adams Light is available beginning today in more than 300 bars and restaurants in the Washington area, and it will be available in stores beginning Aug. 26

In other retail news
National Wholesale Liquidators is scheduled to open a 50,000-square-foot store this week at the Penn Station Shopping Center in District Heights. The store will carry more than 120,000 brand-name household goods. Real estate agency H&R; Retail represented National Wholesale Liquidators in the transaction.
Nordstrom is hiring 250 people to work at its Dulles Town Center store, scheduled to open Sept. 6.
Target opened a 225,000-square-foot store at Westfield Shoppingtown Wheaton yesterday. The giant discount store, which will have about 300 employees, is taking over the space previously occupied by Montgomery Ward.
Food Lion has leased 38,000 square feet at the Babies "R" Us Plaza in Laurel, located just off the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. The grand opening of the third Food Lion location in the Laurel area is scheduled for the first quarter of 2003. JBG Rosenfeld Retail of Bethesda finalized the lease agreement with the supermarket chain.
Harris Teeter will open its doors in Reston Aug. 21. The 60,000-square-foot grocery store will have 175 employees. It is the sixth Harris Teeter location in Northern Virginia.
Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884. Retail & Hospitality appears every other Monday.


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