The beer business is in Jim Koch's blood. His father was a fifth-generation brewer, but he left the business as the big brewers embraced mass production. In 1984, Koch felt people were starting to crave something different. He left his job as a management consultant, dug out his great-great grandfather's recipe and started brewing beer in his kitchen.
Once his sample brew was perfected, Koch took it to Boston's bars, trying to persuade the owners to carry Samuel Adams Boston Beer Lager. Today, Boston Beer (SAM) is the nation's largest craft-beer brewer. It's also a moneymaker, posting $102.2 million in net revenue in the first quarter of 2011.