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Brewing Up a Business

The craft of draft.

Would anyone drink a beer flavored with lavender and peppercorns? Ten years ago, entrepreneurial brewer Sam Calagione found the answer to be a resounding no. But he did make a splash with cherries. He’s also found success with such ingredients as caramelized brown sugar, green raisins, beet sugar, and coriander. Relying on an intuitive and occasionally quirky sense of taste in addition to business savvy, Calagione has turned Dogfish Head Brew into a leader among boutique breweries and one of the more popular lines of beer in the United States. It didn’t happen overnight and it wasn’t easy, and the adventures that he shares in this book describe the many challenges he’s had to overcome as a beverage entrepreneur.

Calagione emphasizes the importance of friends’ encouragement and family support, since his first brewing system for the flagship batch of Shelter Pale Ale consisted of propane burners and three little kegs. He impressively lobbied the Delaware legislature to allow him to open the first brewpub in the state. He also persevered in creating a successful brand without the luxury of promotional budgets such as those enjoyed by big names like Budweiser or Guinness.

The tone of Brewing Up a Business reflects a friendly attitude. By the end of the last chapter the reader may want to sit down and share some more stories over a brew—perhaps one of the so-called summer beers, like Lawnmower Light—with this creative author. —S. J. Johnston

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Chapter 1 - The unconventional beginnings of an entrepreneur
  • Chapter 2 - Business from the inside out
  • Chapter 3 - Keeping your balance
  • Chapter 4 - Creating a business offering
  • Chapter 5 - Crafting a brand in a cookie-cutter world
  • Chapter 6 - Marketing on a small-business budget
  • Chapter 7 - Publicity stunts (are poorly named)
  • Chapter 8 - Stalking the killer app
  • Chapter 9 - Selling distinction, specialization, and variety
  • Chapter 10 - Cash is king (well, sort of)
  • Chapter 11 - Leadership
  • Chapter 12 - Effectively managing employees
  • Chapter 13 - Working toward irrelevance
  • Chapter 14 - To small-business success