says. “Back then, the whole beer world was mass-produced
domestic beers—Bud, Miller, Coors, etcetera and imports.”
BRINGING BEER BACK TO BOSTON
A combination of a standout recipe (the lager was his
great-grandfather’s), quality control, timing (the microbrewing
wave was simmering nationwide) and hard work (he pounded
the pavement and learned to drive a forklift) earned Koch a
foothold—and he hasn’t looked back.
Today, some 800 local bars, and thousands nationally, serve
his beers. He’s expanded the lineup to dozens of styles, including one release that currently ranks as the world’s strongest,
Utopias, a costly elixir aged for years in oak barrels. Koch
shows off his display cases brimming with medals, accounting
sheets from the early days, and prototype bottles. A Cincinnati
native, Koch has warmed to Boston as it has warmed to him.
Does that rebel spirit still hold sway in the taverns around
town? “You’ve got neighborhood bars here with some of that
tradition,” Koch says. “Take Doyle’s, for example,” he says of
a storied, apparently scruffy neighborhood pub that became
one of his first accounts and still serves his beer. “It’s a melting
1. 7 million
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