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Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

SBA 100

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Tree house and tanks outside the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, Delaware.

Company Name:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Milton, Delaware

After Sam Calagoine was introduced to micro-brewed beers while getting his masters degree in creative writing at Columbia University, he decided he wanted to spend his life brewing the great American beer. 

Bankers dismissed his original business plan, so Sam raised $180,000 from friends and family to open Dogfish Head Brewing & Eats, a 150-seat restaurant-brewpub in downtown Rehoboth, Del. The first batch of Dogfish Head beer was brewed in the restaurant using three kegs with propane burners.

In 1997, Calagoine opened a production facility in nearby Lewes. He secured a $208,000 SBA guaranteed 7(a) loan that enabled him to purchase larger brewing vessels to expand production. After outgrowing the original location, the brewery later expanded into its current location, a former cannery in Milton.

Dogfish Head has grown from 10 to 120 co-workers (as labeled by Calagione) with sales projected to reach $41 million this year. In addition to the brewery and Rehoboth restaurant, Calagione recently developed licensing agreements with three Dogfish Head Alehouses in Virginia and Maryland and is in the final stages of launching a rooftop brewpub in New York City with famed chef Mario Batali. Calagione and his team are also featured in a new Discovery Channel reality television show chronicling the Dogfish Head Team’s adventures. 

Dogfish Head has become one of the most watched and well respected breweries in the country thanks in large part to Calagione’s unconventional brewing methods. He is known to transcend styles with unique beers like Chicory Stout, which is made with organic Mexican coffee and St. John’s Wort, and Immort Ale, which is brewed with juniper berries, vanilla and maple syrup. Dogfish Head also recycles ingredients from its innovative beers to make pizza dough, ice cream and cheesecake at the Rehoboth brewpub.

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