Dogfish Head is an interesting company with a weird name. Founded in 1995 in Milton, Delaware by Sam Calagione, the company has grown quickly and exponentially, becoming a major producer of beer in the US. Dogfish Head — like many US brewers these days — claims to produce extreme and experimental beers, and for this company, they really mean it. They brew beers with green raisins, algae, and other oddities. They also make a very popular and well-rated line of India Pale Ales.
The brewery places the beer demand of customers in the Delaware area first, to make sure that supply can meet demand. Dogfish Head beer is available in 30 states. But 60% of its sales come from Delaware, the region from New York City to to northern Virginia, and then the East Coast in general.
At one point, the company had to stop distributing beer to Tennessee, Indiana, Rhode Island and Wisconsin, in order to ensure that they could produce enough beer for their home market. Fans of Dogfish Head were not happy. According to company founder Sam Calagione, “People were waiting in line in beer festivals just to yell at me because we pulled out of their state. But their anger was still rewarding because they wouldn’t be mad unless they cared, so it was humbling to see that people cared, and we gave them our word that the first states that we would reopen when we had more capacity would be the first states that we left.”
The brewery then spent $52 million on expansions and upgrades last year. This enabled them to begin distributing beer again to the states they had withdrawn from. Since then, the company and its beers continue to grow in popularity, quantity made, and quantity enjoyed. This is a good story for craft beer: a company tried hard to make sure that it could deliver beer to fans who were not in their immediate area. We at Everything On Tap say kudos.