Charles Joseph Koch Jr., father of Boston Beer Company co-founder Jim Koch, has died. He was 89 years old.
A press release from Boston Beer explains, “The elder Mr. Koch was a guiding light for his oldest son, Jim, in the creation of The Boston Beer Company. He contributed his immense knowledge of brewing, as well as his sound business advice. But his greatest gift lay in an old trunk stored in his attic. That trunk contained family brewing memorabilia and beer recipes dating back to the 1800s. Indeed, he handed over to his son what he considered the best of the family beer recipes. That beer was first brewed in 1984 and soon appeared in taverns and restaurants in Boston under the name Samuel Adams Boston Lager. The success of Samuel Adams Boston Lager is widely credited as a catalyst for the American Craft Beer Revolution.”
Charles Koch was born in Cincinnati on November 14, 1922, and after majoring in chemical engineering at the University of Cincinnati he became the fifth generation of eldest Koch sons to become a brewer.
He apprenticed in some of Cincinnati’s leading breweries, including Wiedemann, Hudepohl, Burger, Bavarian and Schoenling Brewing Company. He also graduated from America’s oldest brewing school, the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago in 1948 and served as brewmaster at the Wooden Shoe Brewery in Minster, Ohio. Coming full circle, The Boston Beer Company bought the Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewery in Cincinnati in 1996. At the conclusion of a major renovation to the renamed Samuel Adams Brewery in 2005, one of the brewery’s two, new copper brew kettles was named in honor of Charles Koch.
Koch left the beer business when he saw that the taste for full-flavored beers was on the wane. In 1958, he co-founded Chemicals, Inc., a distribution company of brewing and industrial chemicals in Cincinnati, Ohio and retired in 1987. He served as a member of The Boston Beer Company’s first Board of Advisors and then on the Board of Directors from its initial public offering in 1995 until his death.