Props to Boston Beer Company

I checked in on Untappd a few weeks ago to Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale.  I was disappointed in the taste and spoke of it being “…Sour. Astringent. Warm. Disappointing.”  It also went flat pretty quickly, so I tried to update my Untappd check-in with this information.  Seeing that I couldn’t, I took to Twitter and posted an update on my experience.  Sam Adams replied, leading me to a consumer complaint page (stay with me – I have a point).

I filled out the complaint page with my opinion of the beer (it seemed like they were in a hurry to get it to the market) and replied to Sam Adams that I had logged the incident.  “No worries,” I thought.  I was just letting them know, you know?

I got an e-mail the following day from some outsourced customer service company saying

I see from the details that you provided that we do not need any addition information to proceed with our tracking and investigation of your issue. I appreciate the cooperation and effort to provide the facts that we need and I have moved forward with a refund for the Samuel Adams HarvestPumpkin Ale that you purchased.

We are a small company, so please allow 2-3 weeks for a refund check to arrive…

I was taken aback at what I’d read – the company was going to simply reimburse me for a beer.  One beer from a 12-pack seasonal collection.  Also, they were not answering my question; I wrote back:

I understand that things like this happen.  I wasn’t expecting a refund though. I’d like to know what the brewmasters think about what I said, and whether they agree that the beer wasn’t supposed to taste that way. Is this a quality control issue or was the beer intended to be just what it was?


As a true believer in American Craft Beer and a connoisseur, I just want to know what happened. Refunding my money isn’t, in my opinion, a solution.
Ben Rehberg
Ben on Beer
I got absolutely no reply.  Today I received a check in the mail with a letter from Jim Koch:
It’s not every day you get a letter personally signed by the founder of this country’s largest craft brewery.  The check (for $10) also had an original signature.  The letter explains how there are sometimes mishandling incidents that occur and other variables outside of their control that can spoil the taste of the beer.  I understand that, and now it makes sense that the Hazel Brown Ale (from the same 12-pack) didn’t taste right either.  perhaps if I find another sampler at a different retailer I’ll give it another go.
In the mean time, I’d like to mention that this kind of personal contact would not occur with any larger beer company.  Try complaining to Anheuser-Busch about something – I guarantee you won’t get a check and a letter from the CEO.
This is what I love about craft beer – it’s made by people.  People you can actually get to know.  I have become less and less a fan of Samuel Adams over the years because of their far reach and obvious propensity to flood the market, but this experience has reeled me back in to liking the company a whole lot more.  Cheers to Jim Koch and the Boston Beer Company.

Hoppy IPA Day!

I must admit I’d never heard of IPA Day until this year, but in my defense it’s not a national pastime yet.  Today is the 2nd Annual IPA Day according to the official site of the celebration, so get to your local craft beer retailer and pick some up!

Continue reading