The Business of Beer with Founder and President of Dogfish Head, Sam Calagione

The Business of Beer, Episode 41: Sam Calagione – Founder and President of Dogfish Head

sam caligione

In this episode of the Business of Beer with Andy “The Beerman” Coppock, we are joined Sam Calagione, Founder and President of Dogfish Head. Sam joins us to talk about his background, influences, strategies, leadership challenges, and more! If you’re a fan of Dogfish Head, then check this out!

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Show Notes:

– What inspired you to do a book on leadership?
– DFH has always done things a little (OK a lot) differently than many other breweries, what lessons have you learned?
– Collaboration is right in the subtitle, and you have been known to collaborate with other brewers over the years. How much of that type of collaboration led you to look at things a different way from a business perspective?
– What were the leadership challenges at DFH?
– Now, these aren’t necessarily brewery challenges, this applies to all manner of business, especially startup companies, right?
– With the explosion of craft beer over the past several years, and with breweries like DFH growing likely bigger than you ever imagined, these lessons are playing out right in front of us.
– One of the key strategies you discuss is managed growth. With the multiples that are being tossed around for breweries, how can you hold true to that strategy?
– Craft beer is big business, yet it’s still barely over 10% of the total beer market. When most folks think of craft beer, thanks in part to big beer marketing, they think the people who drink craft are Brooklyn hipsters who sip IPA’s while eating vegan Indian Food. What does craft mean today?
– One of the growing trends is to build breweries on the opposite side of the country; Stone, Green Flash, Lagunitas…have you thought about building a west coast facility?
– This isn’t your first foray into writing, especially about the business side. Brewing up a Business delves into starting and sustaining a successful business, did you come to write about business?
– Now that we have all the book stuff out of the way…let’s talk about you. How did you get started brewing?
– What was your background before brewing?
– Who were your influences? Did you have any mentors in the business? How does that affect how you give of your time to the industry?
– Dogfish Head was one of the first breweries to really start using local ingredients in their process…Delaware Peaches, wild yeast locally cultured…DNA I believe. What was the impetus for that?
– How do you maintain that? Is it hard keeping a steady supply of ingredients when you are dealing with small local growers?
– DFH is one of the 15 largest Craft Breweries in the US. What’s the growth plan? 5-10 years down the road?
– Our old friend Bill Covaleski just partnered with Southern Tier and formed a new company, Ballast Point sold for a billion $$, Four Peaks, Breckenridge, Elysian…whats next?
– Some breweries are looking to sell to larger companies, some are merging, some are taking on Private Equity Capital. How have you chosen to raise money for growth, and does it matter?
– So many breweries have opened recently, who’s on your radar and who’s the next DFH?
– Speaking of social media, where can people find you?

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