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Sam Adams was the most influential member of the Sons of Liberty, a loosely organized political organization that formed in opposition to the Stamp Act in 1765. But to many Americans, he’s also the name behind one of the most successful beer brands in the U.S. The company says it picked the name because its founder, Jim Koch, “shared a similar spirit in leading the fight for independence and the opportunity for all Americans to pursue happiness and follow their dreams”. That’s good, because it’s not clear whether Sam Adams actually ever brewed beer. After his father’s death in 1748, Adams inherited his malt house, which is where grains are converted into malt that’s then sold to brewers. But within only a few years, the business was bankrupt and the malt house itself was crumbling; the whole family estate was then put up for auction. Adams proved more effective as a political firebrand than as a “maltster”.