Book Review – Brewing up a Business by Sam Calagoine

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 quite a big role in Brew Wars),  watch him on his own television show, the short lived Brewmasters and now read about him in this book which he wrote himself.

Quite frankly if he didn’t make such good beer, and didn’t seem like a genuinely nice guy and a true lover of beer you might hate him for all this over exposure, and success.  

But is this book any good? Sort of, assuming you are happy to read about business strategies rather than beer recipes.

He can write, he was a English major in College, and the book starts off with some great yarns, particularly from the pre business days, the stories from his boarding school days are like something out of a 1980’s high school movie, but as the book goes on, and the business becomes more and more successful it really does start to read like a business book, albeit a slightly new age, we should all love each other, hug, share ideas and profits sort of way.

Don’t get me wrong it’s quite inspiring. Sam makes owning a business sound so rewarding. In fact it inspired me enough to do some research into opening my own bar. Of course I quickly remembered that it’s much more fun to sit in bars that to actually own one, so this idea was quickly shelved.

Perhaps I should move to Delaware and petition Sam to let me join the Dogfish Head team – It certainly sounds like a great place to work. Plus I have some wicked rap skills so I would fit in well……