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Brewing Up a Business: Adventures in Beer from the Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  946 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
Updated business wisdom from the founder of Dogfish Head, the nation's fastest growing independent craft brewery

Starting with nothing more than a home brewing kit, Sam Calagione turned his entrepreneurial dream into a foamy reality in the form of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, one of America's best and fastest growing craft breweries.

In this newly updated Second Edition, Cala

Kindle Edition, 312 pages
Published (first published May 5th 2005)
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Aug 29, 2011 Tim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Like most people will tell you this is a book about business (and really marketing) and not about brewing or a brewery. Sam Calagione is a salesman and a marketer more than businessman or a brewer and everything he leaves his signature on lets you know that. This book is filled with stories and advice on brand building and doesn't focus as much on anything else. The blurb states "Starting with nothing more than a home brewing kit, Sam Calagione founded Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and made it Amer ...more
Sep 14, 2011 Tyler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sam Calgione is definitely one of my heroes and as an entrepreneur myself this was a must read. I have been a homebrewer for a couple of years and i have always dreamt of what it would be like to own and operate my own brewery. Sam's book is not a recipe for success but the story about how he started and where he is today. I really dont feel like I learned alot but I agree with much of what was said. Calgione has a very hands-on approach to business and I am very impressed with his principles be ...more
Leon Sammartino
This isn’t really a book about beer. I mean it’s written by Sam Calagoine who founded and still runs Dogfish Head Brewery, one of America’s leading craft breweries. But really this is a book about how to run a business (which just happens to be a brewery) as opposed to how to brew beer, drink beer or do anything else with beer.

Now Sam is the darling of the American Craft brew scene, and he is a master of pushing the Dogfish Head brand, as well as brand Sam. You can see him in the movies (He has
Ryan Tracy
Apr 09, 2014 Ryan Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting stories, great motivation and incredible insight into the marketing of a brewery. The biggest flaw in my opinion is the way Sam notes his company is always broke but then later discusses that the company was doing commercials and taking out loans from parents and uncles. I would have a appreciated more insight into those conversations or some reality that companies that are broke don't have money for commercials. That being said, it's a very insightful book and a must read for Any en ...more
Diego Cerezo
“Do anything, but let it produce joy” -Walt Whitman

Es un libro dedicado a cualquier empresario de pequeña empresa, asesorando a través de la experiencia de Sam en Dogfish Head. Hay un buen mix de historias durante el start-up phase de la empresa, el presente (2010) y la visión a futuro de la misma.

Coincido mucho en la filosofía de hacer negocios de Sam. Business-karma equation: the more time and effort you spend as a company helping groups of people who do not directly influence your monetary s
Michael Travis
May 23, 2014 Michael Travis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a beer lover and homebrewer I knew I was going to like this book on the surface. As I got deeper into the book I realized that Sam is a great business person as well as a great writer. The material in the book was so much more than a history lesson of Dogfish Head but an entrepreneur's guidebook that applies way beyond the beer and restaurant business. All facets of business are identified and discussed. The book keeps your attention as the story unfolds from the meager beginnings of his fora ...more
Oct 15, 2012 Colin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book because I was interested in reading about the brewing business and DogFish.

What the book is really about is how to start any kind of small business and Sam's personal suggestions. The book does gives some excellent ideas on how to go from a very small to medium size business I found it really lacked on how to even start a brewery. The sections on marketing and employee management are excellent!

The real surprise comes half way though the book where Sam reveals how he got the mo
Neil White
Jul 29, 2012 Neil White rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sam Calagione is a brilliant man, although he's probably too humble to agree with you. He's also a bit of an oddball in an enjoyable way, so a book written in his trademark voice about a subject he dearly loves is always bound to be a winner, and that's definitely the case here. Here he gives both general tips for any young entrepreneur, spaced between entertaining anecdotes of his own experiences starting a business from nothing. It's worth listening to what he has to say as well, seeing as he' ...more
Joshua Demello
Sep 22, 2015 Joshua Demello rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not only does the guy brew great beer, he can also write! Must be his degree in English. If you ever wanted to see how a brewery actually gets started up and the trials and tribulations associated with it, you should pick up this book and read it cover to cover. I have way more respect for this brewery than I did initially and for Sam himself. He is telling the story of his company, but really providing a blueprint for anyone that wants to follow in his steps.
Gavin Hribar
Jan 24, 2016 Gavin Hribar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
if you like beer, this book will make you love it. if you already love beer, this'll make you want to brew your own or get into a business. if either of those are a no-go, sam shares how his experiences in his business can relate to those in other industries, as well. he tells some pretty interesting stories and always ties them back to a worthwhile lesson. well-written, informative, funny, inspiring, check it out.
Terri Floccare
I did not read this book for its literary merits. I am not accustomed to reading business books. I read this because a family member is working at Dogfish Head and I wanted to learn about the company and Sam Caligione who is the heart and soul of the company. I was surprised at how much of what Sam talked about could also be applied to my profession. I loved getting a glimpse into this "off centered" company.
I enjoyed this book as an inside view of the experiences which helped to shape Dogfish Head into the pillar of craft brewing that it is.
I was hoping to glean some more practical advice and logistical guidance, but the main thrust of "Have a vision, create your niche, stay true to your mission" is always useful in any creative and business endeavor.
Nov 02, 2014 Caleb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I expected a read about the founding of a pony liar craft brewer. What I got was more of a how to start and grow a business book with antidotes about a brewery. It was still interesting but I guess I was looking for an easier reading book when I picked it up. I do enjoy getting to hear SAMs take on how they came up with some of their beers.
May 23, 2008 Gader rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Beer lovers and businessmen alike.. and Mike Terry
Dogfish Head beer is awesome and this book is no different. Being an English major before taking up beer brewing, Sam Calagione had no problem writing this book. The first half of the book is hilarious as he recounts his days getting in trouble at a private school and his first job at a beer bar in NYC with his friend Ricki Lake tasting his homebrews. The rest of the book goes on to tell the story starting a beer brewery...from repealing the prohibition laws still on the books in Delaware, to ro ...more
John Gallegos
Oct 05, 2015 John Gallegos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic for those interested in the beer making process, home-brew, opening a brewery or if you have a small business you are trying to get off the ground. A fantastic reflection by the owner and initial creator of Dogfishhead Brewery. Definitely worth a read if you have the interests stated above.
Giovanni Albanese Jr.
This was an OK book. I feel like when I picked it up I'd be reading a book that would help in the pursuit of opening up a brewpub. What I did learn, in fact, was how Sam Calagione loves himself and everything he has done with his own brewpub/brewery, Dogfish Head. There were a few things I could take away from this, but overall, I was disappointed. Plus, many of the pointers Calagione made were repeated over and over and over and over again. Thanks, Sam!

Finally, I would say that Mr. Calagione is
Aug 12, 2015 Zach rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some good info in this one but at time can get a little too soapboxy. Sam couldn't get out of his way with trying to sell me on a product I already love (hence why I bought the book) to tell me the nitty gritty of how his business grew.
Jan 20, 2016 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very well written book by an english student turned brewer. Great business insight for the small business that is more than just about how to brew great beer.
Valerie (He Said Books Or Me)
The owner of Dog Fish Head, Sam Calagione, shares about his adventures in creating the craft brews. The book is part business, part risk taking adventure, and a whole lot of heart. I enjoyed reading about the processes and how the ideas came to be behind the brand that I have grown to enjoy.
This was more of a business book than a beer book. The business advice was very typical of what you would read in any other book on entrepreneurship.
Dylan Short
Aug 12, 2014 Dylan Short rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read for anyone who is a small business owner. Great story telling and learning about beer too.
Ronan Anthony O'Reilly
Feb 02, 2016 Ronan Anthony O'Reilly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beer
An interesting book, more about marketing a brewery rather than anything else.
Alex Rains
Mar 09, 2015 Alex Rains rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a great story behind a truly great brewery!
Christopher Caplinger
I really wanted to give this book a higher review, as there were a lot of parts that I really enjoyed, but at times, it just got a little too "self-help-ey". All of the parts about how Dogfish head started and was built were really interested, and I really enjoy a lot of the motivational DIY business talk, but at some point it seemed like there was just a lot of repetition. I guess I was just hoping for more dogfish head misadventure stories and less motivational speech. Regardless, it's still w ...more
Oct 16, 2010 Brooks rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I thought this would be filled with great stories about the brewery. It is, but there are few and far between. It is written in the tone of a self-help book - endlessly positive for the small business owner, not a beer geek.

For the beer geek, due to limited capital started with a glorified home brew equipment - 10 gallon brewery for the first year. This allowed them to experiment with 30 different brews the first year. But tremendously labor intensive. Further, quality control (for consistency)
Anwer Qureishi
Jan 04, 2015 Anwer Qureishi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A must read for anyone wanting to start a business or involved in a startup.
Mike Dereix
Jan 12, 2011 Mike Dereix rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An inspiring look into the founding of the Dogfish Head Brewery written by the founder himself; Sam Caligione. Sam gives a first hand look into how he has built Dogfish head into the successful brand that it today and the challenges that he faced along the way. After reading this book, Sam proves himself to be someone you would really want to sit down and have a beer with. A must read for fans of Dogfish Head beer, and aspiring entrepreneurs. You can also view his show "Brew Masters" on the Disc ...more
Jul 16, 2012 Colby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tom Derr
Recommended to Colby by: Craig Birgfeld
There are 2 books within this, and I read one part of it and skimmed the other. Throughout the book you learn the history and all about Dogfish Head beer, and some really interesting nuggets and stories on its founding and growth. That's the part I read. The other part I did not read was his advice and suggestions on how to start your own business and be successful based on his Dogfish experience. Also slightly annoying is his tendency to focus on how cool he is, which got old. Tom, your turn to ...more
Feb 26, 2011 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is probably like a 2.5 so I rounded up to give this 3 stars. It's a business book, so it's predictably dry and technical in a few places, but it's by Sam Calagione, so it's much less so than most other business books. He is a really likable, smart guy, and is a great person to look up to for anyone interested in brewing or owning any kind of small business. It was interesting to hear his take on the types of things I'm sure many business go through. Also, it REALLY made me want a 90 min IPA ...more
Matt Haynes
Feb 08, 2014 Matt Haynes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pretty cool book about starting and running a business.
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