President Donald Trump hosted a special dinner for a select group of business leaders at his Bedminster National Golf Club in New Jersey on Tuesday evening. The president is staying at his New Jersey property for the week while renovations take place in the White House.
According to Breitbart, one of the honored guests at the business leader dinner was Jim Koch, founder and CEO of the Boston Brewing Company, maker of the Samuel Adams line of American beers.
Virtually all of the gathered business leaders thanked the president for the regulations and tax rates his administration has cut, but Koch was especially pleased with the tax cuts and how they have allowed his brewery to become more competitive with the larger, foreign-owned breweries that dominate the beer market.
Koch seemed both humbled by his inclusion at the dinner and excited at the prospects for the future of his company specifically and American-brewed beer more generally, as it leveled the playing field with foreign competitors and granted them the opportunity to “kick their ass” in the market.
“I’m not quite sure why I’m here. I’m like the smallest company by far. I’m Jim Koch, and I started making Sam Adams beer in my kitchen 37 years ago,” he stated, according to a White House transcript of the event, prior to joking that he had at least brought beer for everyone with him.
“And I guess I’m sort of speaking on behalf of what is now 7,000 small brewers in the United States,” he continued, taking up the mantle as representative of America’s growing coterie of small and local breweries.
“When I started Sam Adams, American beer was a joke, and it pissed me off. And now, American brewers make the best beer in the world,” stated Koch.
“And the tax reform was a very big deal for all of us, because 85 percent of the beer made in the United States is owned by foreign companies,” he added to agreement from the president.
“I mean, Americans — I’m the largest American-owned brewery at 2 percent market share. We were paying 38 percent taxes and competing against people who were paying 20,” Koch explained.
“And now we have a level playing field, and we’re going to kick their ass,” added Koch, earning a “Wow” and “Great job” from the president.
Considering America’s love of a nice, cold brew, Koch’s remarks about the substantial market share of foreign-owned beer in the country is shocking, even as it is true.
According to 2017 figures provided by the National Beer Wholesalers Association, Anheuser-Busch InBev — brewers of Budweiser — controlled roughly 41 percent of the beer market in the U.S., followed by MillerCoors LLC at about 24 percent, Constellation at roughly 9 percent, Heineken USA at just under 4 percent and Pabst Brewing at just over 3 percent.
Anheuser-Busch InBev is owned by a large Belgian-Brazilian conglomerate, while MillerCoors is owned by a joint venture of South African Breweries and Canada’s Molson Brewery. Constellation is an American-based international importer of beers and wines, Heineken USA is Dutch-owned and American-brewed Pabst Brewing is now part of an international holding company.
Prior to the tax cuts, which included a significant slash in the corporate and small business tax rates, those foreign-owned companies held quite an advantage of solely American-owned breweries.
But the tax cuts, in conjunction with deregulation and the continuing rise in popularity and growth of American-owned craft breweries, those American companies are better equipped to compete with the larger foreign-owned conglomerates that have dominated the market for years.
Now that there is a more level playing field for the breweries to operate on, hopefully the American-owned businesses will see even more success and grow to control a much larger share of the U.S. beer market going forward.