For the Samuel Adams brand, indirect competition is based primarily in distilled spirits, liqueurs, and wines. Spirits typically contain 37.5% ABV or greater and are usually not infused with any flavors during the distilling process, however, some modern spirits are infused with flavors after distilling. Liqueurs, on the other hand have a slightly lower ABV and are characterized by uniquely infused flavors and high sugar content. Wine includes any alcoholic beverage that is made from fermented fruit juice and contains from 7%-18% ABV.
The most common distilled spirits include whisky, vodka, rum, and tequila. Whisky (or whiskey) refers to a spirit that is distilled from fermented grain mash and aged in wooden casks. The most popular types of whisky are Scotch, Irish, Canadian, and Bourbon.
Vodka, one of the world’s most popular distilled beverages, is a clear liquid that is distilled from a fermented substance such as potatoes, grain, or sugar beet molasses. Although vodka is traditionally drunk in the Eastern European and Nordic countries of the “Vodka Belt”, its popularity elsewhere owes much to its usefulness in cocktails and other mixed drinks, such as the Bloody Mary, the Screwdriver, the vodka tonic, and the vodka martini.
Rum is a distilled beverage made from sugarcane by-products such as molasses and sugarcane juice. The distillate is then usually aged in oak barrels. The majority of rum production takes place in and around the Caribbean. Light rums are referred to as light, silver, or white and are sometimes filtered after aging to remove color. Gold rums are medium-bodied and gain their color from aging in wooden barrels. Dark rums are even darker in color and aged longer, they are used in cooking and to add color to different drinks. Spiced rums are usually golden or dark in color and obtain their flavor through the addition of spices and sometimes caramel.
Tequila is made from the blue agave plant, which is native to Mexico. Tequila is categorized in five ways, according to how it is aged. Blanco (white) or plata (silver) is un-aged and bottled immediately after distillation or aged less than two months in oak barrels. Oro (gold) is un-aged tequila blended with other aged varieties. Reposado (rested) tequila is aged a minimum of two months, but less than a year. Anejo (aged or vintage) tequila is aged a minimum or one year but less than three years. Maduro (extra aged) is aged more than three years.
The brands that compete directly with Sam Adams include Budweiser, Miller Genuine Draft, Miller High Life, Michelob, and Coors Original. While these brands are all formidable competitors, Sam Adams has a significant edge in product quality and variety.
Budweiser is a global pale lager brand owned by the St. Louis–based Anheuser-Busch Company. The company produced the United State’s first national beer, Budweiser, in 1876 and innovated ideas such as beer pasteurization and refrigerated distribution using railcars, truly making Budweiser available nationally. Budweiser is made with a proportion of rice in addition to barley malt, for which it has received some criticism, though the company takes the position that the rice gives the beer a lighter taste and cleaner finish. Since Budweiser includes rice and other adjuncts, it does not meet the traditional definition of beer. It is a filtered beer available in draught and packaged forms. It has 5.0 percent alcohol by volume, and is brewed using rice, barley malt, water, hops and yeast. It is lagered with beechwood chips in the aging vessel which, according to A-B, creates a smoother taste. While beechwood chips are used in the maturation tank, there is little to no flavor contribution from the chips, mainly because they are boiled in sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) for seven hours for the very purpose of removing any flavor from the wood. Anheuser-Busch was one of the few breweries during Prohibition that...