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Nov 19, 2019

Having founded the much admired and influential Dogfish Head Brewery nearly 25 years ago, Sam Calagione is known among his colleagues as one of the godfathers of craft beer. He’s also a highly respected businessman who has authored several best-selling books about entrepreneurship, including “Brewing Up A Business” and “Off-Centered Leadership.”

In an interview included in this episode, Calagione reflected on his experience building Dogfish Head, which in May merged with Samuel Adams maker The Boston Beer Co. in a deal valued at $300 million. As part of our conversation, he spoke about the history of Dogfish Head, how he identified white space for the “off-centered” beer brand and what the threat of bankruptcy taught him about being prepared for down times. He also explained why the company eschews traditional advertising in favor of a dialogue-based marketing approach, why he urges entrepreneurs to write business plans about how “small their businesses can possibly be” and whether wealth has changed his perspective on life. This episode is presented by Flavorman, the beverage architects.

Show notes: 

2:24: Interview: Sam Calagione, Founder, Dogfish Head Brewery -- Calagione sat down with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif for an expansive conversation about his life and career, including his rebellious youth and how he got his feet wet in the beer business. He also spoke about raising money to launch Dogfish Head, why there will always be room for businesses that focus on quality, consistency and differentiation and how he balances his love for brewing with the responsibilities of administration. He also explained why he’s a staunch advocate for the word “craft,” why “goodness” is a pillar of Dogfish Head’s business philosophy, why he refers to employees as “co-workers” and how personal interaction with consumers is key to to its marketing strategy. Later, he discussed his thought process and the timing of the merger with Boston Beer Co. and shared both the biggest regret and proudest moment of his career.

Brands in this episode: Dogfish Head, Schlitz, Treehouse Brewing Co., Deschutes, Samuel Adams, Twisted Tea, Truly Hard Seltzer, Angry Orchard