<PAGE>


                                 UNITED STATES
                       SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
                             Washington, D.C. 20549


                                  SCHEDULE 13G
                    Under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
                                 



                          The Boston Beer Company, Inc.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                (Name of Issuer)



                      Class A Common Stock, $0.01 par value
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                         (Title of Class of Securities)


                                    100557107
                  --------------------------------------------
                                 (CUSIP Number)





                                 April 23, 2001
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
             (Date of Event Which Requires Filing of this Statement)


Check the  appropriate box to designate the rule pursuant to which this Schedule
is filed:

[ ] Rule 13d-1(b)

[X] Rule 13d-1(c)

[ ] Rule 13d-1(d)



                                Page 1 of 9 pages

<PAGE>

-----------------------
  CUSIP No. 100557107                   13G
-----------------------

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 1.   Name of Reporting Person
      I.R.S. Identification No. of above Person

           Goldman Sachs Asset Management, a separate operating unit of  
           Goldman, Sachs & Co.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 2.   Check the Appropriate Box if a Member of a Group
                                                                (a) [_]
                                                                (b) [_]

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 3.   SEC Use Only
 


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 4.   Citizenship or Place of Organization
 
           New York

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     5.   Sole Voting Power
                     
     Number of                 0

      Shares        ----------------------------------------------------------
                     6.   Shared Voting Power
   Beneficially      
                               671,110
     Owned by
                    ----------------------------------------------------------
       Each          7.   Sole Dispositive Power
                     
    Reporting                  0

      Person        ----------------------------------------------------------
                     8.   Shared Dispositive Power
       With:          
                               671,110
                               
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 9.   Aggregate Amount Beneficially Owned by Each Reporting Person
 
           671,110

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10.   Check if the Aggregate Amount in Row (9) Excludes Certain Shares

                                                                    [_]

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
11.   Percent of Class Represented by Amount in Row (9)

           5.4%

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
12.   Type of Reporting Person

           IA

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                      

                                Page 2 of 9 pages

<PAGE>

-----------------------
  CUSIP No. 100557107                   13G
-----------------------

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 1.   Name of Reporting Person
      I.R.S. Identification No. of above Person

           Goldman Sachs 1998 Exchange Place Fund, L.P.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 2.   Check the Appropriate Box if a Member of a Group
                                                                (a) [_]
                                                                (b) [_]

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 3.   SEC Use Only
 


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 4.   Citizenship or Place of Organization
 
           Delaware

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     5.   Sole Voting Power
                     
     Number of                 0

      Shares        ----------------------------------------------------------
                     6.   Shared Voting Power
   Beneficially      
                               113,000
     Owned by
                    ----------------------------------------------------------
       Each          7.   Sole Dispositive Power
                     
    Reporting                  0

      Person        ----------------------------------------------------------
                     8.   Shared Dispositive Power
       With:          
                               113,000

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 9.   Aggregate Amount Beneficially Owned by Each Reporting Person
 
           113,000

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10.   Check if the Aggregate Amount in Row (9) Excludes Certain Shares

                                                                    [_]

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
11.   Percent of Class Represented by Amount in Row (9)

           0.9%

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
12.   Type of Reporting Person

           PN

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                      

                                Page 3 of 9 pages

<PAGE>

-----------------------
  CUSIP No. 100557107                   13G
-----------------------

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 1.   Name of Reporting Person
      I.R.S. Identification No. of above Person

           Goldman Sachs 1997 Exchange Place Fund, L.P.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 2.   Check the Appropriate Box if a Member of a Group
                                                                (a) [_]
                                                                (b) [_]

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 3.   SEC Use Only
 


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 4.   Citizenship or Place of Organization
 
           Delaware

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     5.   Sole Voting Power
                     
     Number of                 0

      Shares        ----------------------------------------------------------
                     6.   Shared Voting Power
   Beneficially      
                               558,110
     Owned by
                    ----------------------------------------------------------
       Each          7.   Sole Dispositive Power
                     
    Reporting                  0

      Person        ----------------------------------------------------------
                     8.   Shared Dispositive Power
       With:          
                               558,110

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 9.   Aggregate Amount Beneficially Owned by Each Reporting Person
 
           558,110

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10.   Check if the Aggregate Amount in Row (9) Excludes Certain Shares

                                                                    [_]

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
11.   Percent of Class Represented by Amount in Row (9)

           4.5%

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
12.   Type of Reporting Person

           PN

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                      

                                Page 4 of 9 pages

<PAGE>

-----------------------
  CUSIP No. 100557107                   13G
-----------------------

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 1.   Name of Reporting Person
      I.R.S. Identification No. of above Person

           Goldman Sachs Management Partners, L.P.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 2.   Check the Appropriate Box if a Member of a Group
                                                                (a) [_]
                                                                (b) [_]

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 3.   SEC Use Only
 


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 4.   Citizenship or Place of Organization
 
           Delaware

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     5.   Sole Voting Power
                     
     Number of                 0

      Shares        ----------------------------------------------------------
                     6.   Shared Voting Power
   Beneficially      
                               671,110
     Owned by
                    ----------------------------------------------------------
       Each          7.   Sole Dispositive Power
                     
    Reporting                  0

      Person        ----------------------------------------------------------
                     8.   Shared Dispositive Power
       With:          
                               671,110

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 9.   Aggregate Amount Beneficially Owned by Each Reporting Person
 
           671,110

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10.   Check if the Aggregate Amount in Row (9) Excludes Certain Shares

                                                                    [_]

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
11.   Percent of Class Represented by Amount in Row (9)

           5.4%

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
12.   Type of Reporting Person

           PN

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                      

                                Page 5 of 9 pages

<PAGE>

Item 1(a).         Name of Issuer:
                   The Boston Beer Company, Inc.

Item 1(b).         Address of Issuer's Principal Executive Offices:
                   75 Arlington Street
                   Boston, MA  02116
 
Item 2(a).         Name of Persons Filing:
                   Goldman Sachs Asset Management, 
                   Goldman Sachs 1998 Exchange Place Fund, L.P.,
                   Goldman Sachs 1997 Exchange Place Fund, L.P. and 
                   Goldman Sachs Management Partners, L.P.

Item 2(b).         Address of Principal Business Office or, if none, Residence:
                   Goldman Sachs 1998 Exchange Place Fund, L.P.,
                   Goldman Sachs 1997 Exchange Place Fund, L.P. and
                   Goldman Sachs Management Partners, L.P.
                   85 Broad Street
                   New York, NY  10004

                   Goldman Sachs Asset Management
                   32 Old Slip
                   New York, NY  10005

Item 2(c).         Citizenship:
                   Goldman Sachs Asset Management - New York
                   Goldman Sachs 1998 Exchange Place Fund, L.P.- Delaware
                   Goldman Sachs 1997 Exchange Place Fund, L.P.- Delaware
                   Goldman Sachs Management Partners, L.P. - Delaware

Item 2(d).         Title of Class of Securities:
                   Class A Common Stock, $0.01 par value

Item 2(e).         CUSIP Number:
                   100557107

Item 3.            If this statement is filed pursuant to Rules 13d-1(b) or
                   13d-2(b) or (c), check whether the person filing is a :

          (a).[_]  Broker or dealer registered under Section 15 of the Act
                   (15 U.S.C. 78o). 

          (b).[_]  Bank as defined in Section 3(a)(6) of the Act 
                   (15 U.S.C. 78c).

          (c).[_]  Insurance company as defined in Section 3(a)(19) of the Act
                   (15 U.S.C. 78c).

          (d).[_]  Investment company registered under Section 8 of the
                   Investment Company Act of 1940 (15 U.S.C. 80a-8).

          (e).[_]  An investment adviser in accordance with 
                   Rule 13d-1(b)(1)(ii)(E);
 
          (f).[_]  An employee benefit plan or endowment fund in accordance     
                   with Rule 13d-1(b)(1)(ii)(F);

          (g).[_]  A parent holding company or control person in accordance 
                   with Rule 13d-1(b)(1)(ii)(G); 

          (h).[_]  A savings association as defined in Section 3(b) of the
                   Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. 1813);

          (i).[_]  A church plan that is excluded from the definition of an
                   investment company under Section 3(c)(14) of the 
                   Investment Company Act of 1940 (15 U.S.C. 80a-3);

          (j).[_]  Group, in accordance with Rule 13d-1(b)(1)(ii)(J).
            
If this statement is filed pursuant to Rule 13d-1(c), check this box [X].

                      

                                Page 6 of 9 pages

<PAGE>

Item 4.            Ownership.*

          (a).     Amount beneficially owned:
                   See the response(s) to Item  9 on the attached cover page(s).

          (b).     Percent of Class:
                   See the response(s) to Item 11 on the attached cover page(s).

          (c).     Number of shares as to which such person has:

                   (i).     Sole power to  vote or to direct  the vote:  See the
                            response(s) to Item 5 on the attached cover page(s).
                            
                   (ii).    Shared power to vote or to direct the vote:  See the
                            response(s) to Item 6 on the attached cover page(s).
                            
                   (iii).   Sole power to  dispose or to direct  the disposition
                            of:  See the response(s) to  Item 7  on the attached
                            cover page(s).

                   (iv).    Shared power to dispose or to direct the disposition
                            of:  See the response(s) to  Item 8  on the attached
                            cover page(s).

Item 5.            Ownership of Five Percent or Less of a Class.
                             Not Applicable

Item 6.            Ownership of More than Five Percent on Behalf of Another 
                   Person.
                             Not Applicable

Item 7.            Identification  and  Classification  of the Subsidiary  Which
                   Acquired the Security Being Reported on by the Parent Holding
                   Company.
                             Not Applicable

Item 8.            Identification and Classification of Members of the Group.
                             Not Applicable

Item 9.            Notice of Dissolution of Group.
                             Not Applicable

Item 10.           Certification.  
                         By  signing  below I  certify  that,  to the best of my
                   knowledge and belief,  the securities  referred to above were
                   not acquired and are not held  for the purpose of or with the
                   effect of changing or influencing  the control  of the issuer
                   of the  securities and were not acquired and are not  held in
                   connection  with  or  as a  participant  in  any  transaction
                   having that purpose or effect.

--------------------------
     * In accordance with Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") Release No.
34-39538  (January 12, 1998),  this filing reflects the securities  beneficially
owned  by the  asset  management  unit  of  Goldman,  Sachs  & Co.  (the  "Asset
Management Unit"). This filing does not reflect securities, if any, beneficially
owned by any other operating unit of Goldman,  Sachs & Co. The Asset  Management
Unit disclaims beneficial ownership of the securities  beneficially owned by (i)
any client  accounts  with respect to which it or its  employees  have voting or
investment  discretion,  or both, and (ii) certain investment entities, of which
its affiliate is the general partner, managing general partner or other manager,
to the extent  interests  in such  entities  are held by persons  other than the
Asset Management Unit.



                                Page 7 of 9 pages

<PAGE>



                                    SIGNATURE



            After reasonable inquiry and to the best of my knowledge
            and belief,  I certify that the information set forth in
            this statement is true, complete and correct.


Date:  May 3, 2001


                                GOLDMAN, SACHS & CO. on behalf of
                                Goldman Sachs Asset Management

                                By: /s/ Roger S. Begelman
                                   ----------------------------------------
                                Name:   Roger S. Begelman
                                Title:  Attorney-in-fact
 
                               
                                GOLDMAN SACHS 1998 EXCHANGE PLACE FUND, L.P.

                                By: /s/ Roger S. Begelman
                                   ----------------------------------------
                                Name:   Roger S. Begelman
                                Title:  Attorney-in-fact


                                GOLDMAN SACHS 1997 EXCHANGE PLACE FUND, L.P.

                                By: /s/ Roger S. Begelman
                                   ----------------------------------------
                                Name:   Roger S. Begelman
                                Title:  Attorney-in-fact


                                GOLDMAN SACHS MANAGEMENT PARTNERS, L.P.

                                By: /s/ Roger S. Begelman
                                   ----------------------------------------
                                Name:   Roger S. Begelman
                                Title:  Attorney-in-fact
                                   


                                Page 8 of 9 pages

<PAGE>


 
                               INDEX TO EXHIBITS



Exhibit No.   Exhibit
-----------   -------

99.1          Joint Filing Agreement, dated May 3, 2001,  between Goldman, Sachs
              & Co.,  Goldman  Sachs 1998  Exchange Place  Fund,  L.P.,  Goldman
              Sachs 1997 Exchange Place Fund, L.P., and Goldman Sachs Management
              Partners, L.P.

99.2          Power of Attorney,  dated December 8, 2000,  relating  to Goldman,
              Sachs & Co.

99.3          Power of Attorney,  dated September 28, 1999,  relating to Goldman
              Sachs 1998 Exchange Place Fund, L.P.

99.4          Power of Attorney,  dated September 21, 1999,  relating to Goldman
              Sachs 1997 Exchange Place Fund, L.P.

99.5          Power of Attorney,  dated September 21, 1999,  relating to Goldman
              Sachs Management Partners, L.P.



                                Page 9 of 9 pages





<PAGE>
 
                                                                  EXHIBIT (99.1)



                             JOINT FILING AGREEMENT



     In  accordance  with Rule  13d-1(k)(1)  promulgated  under  the  Securities
Exchange Act of 1934, the  undersigned  agree to the joint filing of a Statement
on Schedule 13G (including  any and all amendments  thereto) with respect to the
Class A Common Stock,  $0.01 par value,  of The Boston Beer Company,  Inc.,  and
further  agree  to the  filing  of this  agreement  as an  Exhibit  thereto.  In
addition,  each party to this Agreement expressly authorizes each other party to
this Agreement to file on its behalf any and all amendments to such Statement on
Schedule 13G.


Date:  May 3, 2001


                                GOLDMAN, SACHS & CO. on behalf of
                                Goldman Sachs Asset Management

                                By: /s/ Roger S. Begelman
                                   ----------------------------------------
                                Name:   Roger S. Begelman
                                Title:  Attorney-in-fact
 
                               
                                GOLDMAN SACHS 1998 EXCHANGE PLACE FUND, L.P.

                                By: /s/ Roger S. Begelman
                                   ----------------------------------------
                                Name:   Roger S. Begelman
                                Title:  Attorney-in-fact


                                GOLDMAN SACHS 1997 EXCHANGE PLACE FUND, L.P.

                                By: /s/ Roger S. Begelman
                                   ----------------------------------------
                                Name:   Roger S. Begelman
                                Title:  Attorney-in-fact


                                GOLDMAN SACHS MANAGEMENT PARTNERS, L.P.

                                By: /s/ Roger S. Begelman
                                   ----------------------------------------
                                Name:   Roger S. Begelman
                                Title:  Attorney-in-fact





<PAGE>

                                                                  EXHIBIT (99.2)



                                POWER OF ATTORNEY



     KNOW  ALL  PERSONS  BY  THESE  PRESENTS  that  GOLDMAN,  SACHS  & CO.  (the
"Company")  does hereby make,  constitute  and appoint each of Hans L. Reich and
Roger S. Begelman, acting individually, its true and lawful attorney, to execute
and  deliver  in its  name and on its  behalf  whether  the  Company  is  acting
individually or as representative of others,  any and all filings required to be
made by the Company under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, (as amended,  the
"Act"),  with respect to securities which may be deemed to be beneficially owned
by  the   Company   under  the  Act,   giving  and   granting   unto  each  said
attorney-in-fact  power and authority to act in the premises as fully and to all
intents and purposes as the Company might or could do if  personally  present by
one of its authorized signatories, hereby ratifying and confirming all that said
attorney-in-fact shall lawfully do or cause to be done by virtue hereof.

     THIS POWER OF ATTORNEY  shall remain in full force and effect  until either
revoked  in  writing  by the  undersigned  or until  such time as the  person or
persons to whom power of  attorney  has been  hereby  granted  cease(s) to be an
employee of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. or one of its affiliates.

     IN WITNESS
 WHEREOF,  the undersigned has duly  subscribed these presents as
of December 8th, 2000.



GOLDMAN, SACHS & CO.
 

By: s/ Gregory  K. Palm  
----------------------------  
Name:  Gregory K. Palm  
Title: Managing Director



<PAGE>

                                                                  EXHIBIT (99.4)



                                POWER OF ATTORNEY


     KNOW ALL  PERSONS BY THESE PRESENTS  that GOLDMAN SACHS 1997 EXCHANGE PLACE
FUND, L.P. (the "Fund") does hereby make, constitute and appoint each of Hans L.
Reich and Roger S. Begelman, acting individually,  its true and lawful attorney,
to execute and deliver in its name and on its behalf  whether the Fund is acting
individually or as representative of others,  any and all filings required to be
made by the Fund under the Securities  Exchange Act of 1934, as amended,  giving
and granting unto each said  attorney-in-fact  power and authority to act in the
premises as fully and to all intents and  purposes as the Fund might or could do
if personally present by one of its authorized signatories, hereby ratifying and
confirming all that said attorney-in-fact  shall lawfully do or cause to be done
by virtue hereof.

     THIS POWER OF ATTORNEY  shall remain in full force and  effect until either
revoked  in  writing  by the  undersigned  or until  such time as the  person or
persons  to whom  power of attorney  has been  hereby granted  cease(s) to be an
employee of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. or one of its affiliates.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF,  the undersigned has duly subscribed  these presents as
of September 21, 1999.


GOLDMAN
 SACHS 1997 EXCHANGE PLACE FUND, L.P.

By: Goldman Sachs Management Partners, L.P.
By: Goldman Sachs Management, Inc.


By:/s/ Robert Litterman
--------------------------------- 
Name:  Robert Litterman 
Title: President



<PAGE>

                                                                  EXHIBIT (99.3)



                                POWER OF ATTORNEY


     KNOW ALL  PERSONS BY THESE PRESENTS  that GOLDMAN SACHS 1998 EXCHANGE PLACE
FUND, L.P. (the "Fund") does hereby make, constitute and appoint each of Hans L.
Reich and Roger S. Begelman, acting individually,  its true and lawful attorney,
to execute and deliver in its name and on its behalf  whether the Fund is acting
individually or as representative of others,  any and all filings required to be
made by the Fund under the Securities  Exchange Act of 1934, as amended,  giving
and granting unto each said  attorney-in-fact  power and authority to act in the
premises as fully and to all intents and  purposes as the Fund might or could do
if personally present by one of its authorized signatories, hereby ratifying and
confirming all that said attorney-in-fact  shall lawfully do or cause to be done
by virtue hereof.

     THIS POWER OF ATTORNEY  shall remain in full force and  effect until either
revoked  in  writing  by the  undersigned  or until  such time as the  person or
persons  to whom  power of attorney  has been  hereby granted  cease(s) to be an
employee of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. or one of its affiliates.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF,  the undersigned has duly subscribed  these presents as
of September 28, 1999.


GOLDMAN
 SACHS 1998 EXCHANGE PLACE FUND, L.P.

By: Goldman Sachs Management Partners, L.P.
By: Goldman Sachs Management, Inc.


By:/s/ Robert Litterman
--------------------------------- 
Name:  Robert Litterman 
Title: President



<PAGE>

                                                                  EXHIBIT (99.5)



                                POWER OF ATTORNEY


     KNOW ALL  PERSONS BY THESE PRESENTS that GOLDMAN SACHS MANAGEMENT PARTNERS,
L.P. (the "Fund") does hereby make, constitute and appoint each of Hans L. Reich
and Roger S. Begelman,  acting  individually,  its true and lawful attorney,  to
execute  and  deliver in its name and on its behalf  whether  the Fund is acting
individually or as representative of others,  any and all filings required to be
made by the Fund under the Securities  Exchange Act of 1934, as amended,  giving
and granting unto each said  attorney-in-fact  power and authority to act in the
premises as fully and to all intents and  purposes as the Fund might or could do
if personally present by one of its authorized signatories, hereby ratifying and
confirming all that said attorney-in-fact  shall lawfully do or cause to be done
by virtue hereof.

     THIS POWER OF ATTORNEY  shall remain in full force and  effect until either
revoked  in  writing  by the  undersigned  or until  such time as the  person or
persons  to whom  power of attorney  has been  hereby granted  cease(s) to be an
employee of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. or one of its affiliates.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF,  the undersigned has duly subscribed  these presents as
of September 21, 1999.


GOLDMAN SACHS
 MANAGEMENT PARTNERS, L.P.

By: Goldman Sachs Management, Inc.


By:/s/ Robert Litterman
--------------------------------- 
Name:  Robert Litterman 
Title: President