• Polito's Take: Sam Adams brewed revolution, not beer


    Samuel Adams never brewed beer and that's not his picture on the bottle. Despite his protests over British taxation, he worked as a tax collector. He was also a community organizer. I know that's a lot to swallow, so before you spit out your beer, allow me to explain.

    George Washington is called the father of our country, but most historians regard Samuel Adams as the father of the American Revolution. Adams was a leader of the movement in Massachusetts that became the War for Independence. He is the original community organizer because along with the Sons of Liberty, he could whip up a crowd in Boston, at any time, to protest British taxes or other measures impressed upon the colonists.

    His father, Samuel Adams, Sr., owned a business that produced malt, the essential ingredient in beer. Samuel Adams, Jr., worked for his dad's company which sold malt to brewers. Adams would be more appropriately honored by naming a brand of tea after him because he organized the Boston Tea Party. Also, that's not Samuel Adams on the beer bottle. There are many stories concerning the identity of the tankard holding patriot. Some say it's Paul Revere, others claim Samuel Adams was considered too ugly for the bottle. I'm not going to get into the legends and myths. Samuel Adams was not an ugly man, he would be considered quite average for the period in which he lived.

    Adams did work for a short time as a tax collector. He was not a very good one. Often, he let people off the hook who owed, but could not pay. That kindness got him in financial trouble because he was ordered to pay the taxes that he did not collect. He has a reputation as a rabble rouser, but he was a very rigid and moral man. He was a Puritan, just like the Pilgrims. His father loaned him money to start his own business, but he failed. It did not matter to Adams because as a Puritan, he was not concerned with earthly wealth. He devoted most of his life to politics and even served as Governor of the Commonwealth. Were it not for his son, a doctor, who died at an early age and leaving his wealth to his parents, Samuel Adams could have died a poor man. It's ironic, because his name now represents a very large and successful business.

    So, here's to Samuel Adams. Cheers!

    Next Up: