When Boston Beer (NYSE:SAM) founder Jim Koch decided to start up a brewery in 1984, his inspiration came from his family -- in a reverse sort of way. As the well-told tale goes, Jim's dad -- a fifth-generation brewer -- tried to steer him away from a business he saw as too tough because of the ongoing wave of consolidation.

But today Jim's company is the largest craft brewer in the nation, with almost 1% of total beer sales. Many at the recent Craft Brewers Conference count Boston Beer among their most-admired companies. Our Rex Moore took on the tough assignment of covering the conference, and asked about other companies these brewers learned from. Today, New Belgium Brewing CEO Kim Jordan talks about Patagonia, Herman Miller (NASDAQ:MLHR), and Interface (NASDAQ:TILE).

Rex Moore has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Boston Beer. The Motley Fool owns shares of Boston Beer and Interface. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.