Drinking a fresh beer is a very different experience than drinking a beer that is past its freshness date. We want you to have the best Samuel Adams drinking experience possible and make sure you look forward to the next one.
We pioneered putting legible freshness dating on our packaging to, well, make sure you know whether or not it’s fresh. Jim Koch first created his own notched labels by using first a $10 hack saw and then, as we grew, a $150 table saw, notching the labels himself.
Each Samuel Adams beer label has a calendar timeline and a specific month notched as the expiration date. The beer is out of code as of the first day of that month. On cans, a clear “best before” date is printed right on the bottom.
For the truly obsessed, every Samuel Adams bottle and keg can also be tracked precisely by its inkjet code. Our system, using Julian dated codes and military time (told you we’re serious about this stuff), can tell you down to the minute when it was bottled, as well as the exact filler where the beer was put into the bottle or keg.
In 2010, we started collaborating with our distributors through a program dubbed the “Freshest Beer Program,” which improves efficiency in the supply chain and deliver drinkers the freshest Samuel Adams beer possible. Doesn’t sound all that exciting but trust us – it’s an innovative idea.
Distributors typically keep about a month of beer inventory, often kept warm in their warehouse. The Freshest Beer Program reduces that to a week or two and requires keeping our beer cold. Almost 80% of our volume is on the Freshest Beer Program, making it possible for people across the country to enjoy a fresh Sam Adams beer that came off the bottling line just a week or two ago.
Sam Adams employees are constantly, almost obsessively, checking our beers to ensure that they’re fresh. When a Samuel Adams beer is past its freshness date, no matter where it is found, or who finds it, we take it off the shelf and send it to a beer recycling facility (yes, they do exist).