Sam Calagione

A Clever, Beer-Themed April Fool’s Prank

Today, CraftBeer.com reported that the heads of four craft-brewing pioneers–Kim Jordan (New Belgium), Ken Grossman (Sierra Nevada), Garrett Oliver (Brooklyn Brewery) and Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head)–will be chipped out of Half Dome, the 9,000-foot-tall granite formation in Yosemite National Park. It also reported that the landmark will be named “Craft Dome”.

It gets better:

[I]t all started with a call from Leslie Knope a few weeks ago. Grossman says the Pawnee, Indiana, native who rose to the top of the ranks of the National Park Service was looking for a way the government could give props to the rise of small and independent brewing in America.

“She said she wanted to put a project together to honor the founding of craft brewing…Since California is the birthplace they wanted to do it at Half Dome.”

There’s also a video from Sierra Nevada’s Facebook page in which the four honorees explain the Craft Dome plan.

Well done, ladies and gentlemen. Well done.

The Friday Mash (Road Atlas Edition)

Ninety years ago today, the first numbering system for U.S. highways was approved. The 21 numbered highways in the initial group included U.S. 60, which ran from Chicago to Los Angeles; it was later renumbered and became the famous “Mother Road”, U.S. Route 66.

And now…The Mash!

We begin at the Samuel Adams brewery in Boston, where hundreds of fans lined up to buy bottles of limited-edition “Big Hapi” beer, brewed to honor now-retired Red Sox slugger David “Big Papi” Ortiz.

Beer aficionados reacted furiously to TV food and travel personality Anthony Bourdain’s comments likening the clientele at a San Francisco beer bar to the “(expletive deleted) Invasion of the Body Snatchers”.

A court in Stuttgart, Germany, ruled that breweries can’t use the word “bekömmlich”—“wholesome” in English—in their advertising because European Union regulations prohibit health claims in alcohol ads.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery will start canning its beers later this month. Brewery CEO Sam Calagione is now convinced that canning technology can deliver a consistent, high-quality product.

The YouTube channel Celebrities in Golf Carts is trying to bridge the generation gap between Baby Boomers and Millennials with a new sport called Beer Pong Golf.

Dissatisfied with local distributors, Massachusetts’ Night Shift Brewing created its own distributorship. It’s offering breweries friendlier contracts, more personal attention, and deliveries of fresher beer.

Finally, in 1987, a Heineken retailer spread the untrue rumor that Mexican brewery workers urinated in containers of Corona Extra beer. That resulted in a lawsuit, and a public statement denying the rumor. Ten years later, Corona surpassed Heineken as America’s number-one imported beer.

The Friday Mash (Stanley Cup Edition)

On this day in 1892, Lord Stanley, Canada’s former Governor-General, pledged to donate a silver challenge cup to the best hockey team in Canada. The Montreal Canadiens have won 24 Stanley Cups, nine more than the second-place Toronto Maple Leafs.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Silver Bay, Minnesota, where the city council banned a local microbrewery’s products from the municipal liquor store after the brewery opposed against taconite mining in the area.

Hops have been used in folk medicine for centuries. Today’s scientists have been working on harnessing hops’ anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.

Releases draw big crowds of beer geeks. Unfortunately, some of them behave badly, pushing and shoving, cutting in line, and abusing breweries on social media when the beer runs out.

The pace of mergers and acquisitions in the brewing industry is picking up, and now craft breweries are taking one another over. Recently, Oskar Blues Brewery has bought Cigar City Brewing.

Tom Osborne and Mike Robb appeared on the television show Shark Tank to pitch The Beer Blizzard, a freezable product that fits on the bottom of a beer can, keeping it colder longer.

A craft brewery in London is attacking the problem of food waste by salvaging heels from bread loaves. The heels—which normally go to waste—are made into a beer called Toast Ale.

Finally, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s Sam Calagione says he got his first taste of the beer business waiting tables at a Manhattan bar. That inspired Calagione to buy a homebrewing kit. On a whim, he added overly ripe cherries…and the rest is history.

The Friday Mash (One Whale Of An Edition)

On this day in 1820, in the South Pacific, an 80-ton whale attacked the Essex, a whaling ship from Nantucket. Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick–admit it, you read the Cliff’s Notes for that title-is in part inspired by this story.

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in Leeds, where two men refused to let a rainstorm, or the flooding from that storm, stop them from enjoying a pint in a pub’s beer garden. Their Sunday roast, however, was rained out.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s Sam Calagione has been named executive editor of Pallet, a quarterly magazine aimed at people who “like to think and drink.” Pallet’s subtitle is “Only interested in everything.”

Historians have concluded that the Pilgrims didn’t have beer at the original Thanksgiving feast. That, however, shouldn’t stop you from serving beer with your Turkey Day dinner.

Louisville plans to revive a tradition from more than a century ago: a party to celebrate the release of bock beer. The NuLu Bock Beer Festival will take place next spring.

A beer garden made from shipping containers? It’s coming to the port city of Long Beach, California. Called SteelCraft, it will feature beer from Smog City and other local micros, along with gourmet food.

Samuel Adams Utopias, an ultra-high-gravity (28 percent ABV), and ultra-expensive (suggested retail price: $199) beer is back. The current batch, the ninth brewed since 2002, contains previous vintages going back to 1992.

Finally, Sadie Snyder, a Massachusetts woman who celebrated her 106th birthday, credits beer for her longevity. She had her first beer at age six thanks to her father, who worked in the beer industry.

Sam Calagione Returns to TV

This fall, First We Feast will air a six-episode series titled “That’s Odd, Let’s Drink It,” which the network describes as an improv version of brewing. The star of the series is Sam Calagione, the founder and CEO of Dogfish Head Brewery, who will brew never-seen-before beers with celebrity guests. The guest list includes rapper Mac Miller, NBA All-Star Chris Bosh, DJ Z-Trip, and actors Ken Marino and Joe Lo Truglio.

Dogfish Head Does Deal With Private Equity Firm

On Monday, Sam Calagione, the CEO of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Inc., told his employees that LNK Partners, a New York-based private equity firm, has taken a 15-percent stake in the brewery. As part of the deal, LNK would be given one seat on the company’s board of directors.

Calagione made it clear that Dogfish Head will remain a family-led and -controlled business. He also said that LNK was in accord with his instance that the deal wouldn’t lead to an initial public offering, interfere with the brewery’s “off-centered” culture, or stress fast growth over “smart growth”.

Dogfish Head, the nation’s 13th largest craft brewery, produces 175,000 barrels a year.

An Oral History of Beer Label Design

As the craft beer industry grows more crowded, it becomes increasingly important for breweries to distinguish themselves from the competition. One way of doing so, aside from the beer itself, is the look and feel of the beer’s packaging. Chris Wright of GearPatrol.com sought out a number of leading figures in the craft community, and asked them about the design of their beer labels.

Wright’s panel of experts includes Brooklyn Brewery’s Milton Glazer, who founded New York magazine and designed the iconic “I (Heart) NY” logo in the 1970s; Flying Dog Ales’ Erin Weston, who works closely with Hunter S. Thompson’s illustrator Ralph Steadman; and Dogfish Head Brewery’s Sam Calagione, who really needs no introduction. Ten other designers, representing such well-known brands as Founders, Ommegang, and Sly Fox, also contributed to this fascinating oral history.

The designers come from various walks of life; and, as expected, many of them are home brewers. They explained to Wright what they wanted their labels to convey, such as psychedelia or fond memories of the beach. Perhaps the best comment came from Calagione, who told Wright that label design has become a challenge. He said, “It’s getting harder to find fun, provocative on-brand names these days with 1.5 new breweries opening every day and only half a million words in the English language.”

The Friday Mash (Uncle Miltie Edition)

On this day in 1908, actor and comedian Milton Berle was born. As the host of NBC’s Texaco Star Theater, Berle was the first major American television star. He’s known to millions of viewers of a certain age as “Uncle Miltie.”

And now….The Mash!

We begin in the middle of Tampa Bay, where–if summer storms haven’t inundated it–you’ll find Beer Can Island. Non-drinkers refer it to it by its official name, Pine Key.

If you have vacation time coming and money to spend, consider a luxury beer vacation. Sarah Bennett of CNN.com picks America’s ten best beer-themed getaway locations.

Once again, North Dakota ranks number-one in per-capita beer consumption. The Roughrider State also ranks first in bars per capita, with one for every 1,620 adults.

Sam Calagione, the head of Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales, is known for adding food to beer. Now he’s created a line of beer-infused foods that includes chowder, pickles, and brownies.

Earlier this month, Darwin, Australia, held its annual Beer Can Regatta. To win, a skipper has to battle water, waves, and high construction costs–namely, a 10-cents-per-can deposit.

Smithsonian magazine’s Alastair Bland likes to hide bottles of rare beer in beautiful locations, then dare his readers to find them. Bland’s latest “Trail of Ale” is in northern California.

Finally, Will Gordon of Deadspin.com ranks 36 cheap American beers. Top honors went to Grain Belt Premium, which Gordon describes as “smooth, creamy, and dreamy.” His worst? Keystone.

The Friday Mash (Mass Production Edition)

On this day in 1958, the Ford Motor Company produced its 50 millionth automobile. It was a Thunderbird. Exactly ten years later, the General Motors Corporation’s 100 millionth automobile, an Oldsmobile Toronado, rolled off the line. In 1968 you could gas up that Toronado for 33 cents a gallon.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where home brewer Rose Schweikhart Cranson hopes to convert a historic bathhouse into a brewery and distillery. She plans to use water from the springs in her products.

Miller Brewing Company first used the slogan “It’s Miller Time” in 1971. Its parent company, MillerCoors, will revive the slogan in an effort to bring Miller Lite out of a prolonged sales slump.

Across the pond, bloggers Boak and Bailey have saved their country’s brewing industry a bundle by identifying the five types of beer drinkers.

Slate magazine’s Mark Garrison is hot under the collar over bars that insist on serving craft beers at arctic temperatures. Unfortunately, it’s going to take a lot of time–and education–to end this practice.

In case you missed it, the Brewers Association chose a new board of directors. It will be chaired by Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Artisan Ales, and you’ll find other familiar names on the board.

Finally, there’s an app for that–namely, buying a pint for a friend in some other city. The Tweet-a-Beer app, developed by South by Southwest Interactive, combines Twitter and PayPal.

Finally, rye beer has caught the attention of the Wall Street Journal. The Journal’s William Bostwick shares his tasting notes from five notable rye beers.

Dogfish Head CEO Bites Back at Critics

Fair warning to those who post on online beer forums. The target of your snarky comment could be following the discussion–and might jump into the fray. Earlier this week, on BeerAdvocate.com, “HawksBeerFan” started a discussion of overrated breweries with a swipe at Dogfish Head Artisan Ales, arguing that the brewery’s big beers “aren’t anything special and some are downright bad.” Several other posters agreed that Dogfish Head belonged on the most-overrated list.

It didn’t take long for Dogfish Head’s CEO, Sam Calagione, to fire back with the following defense of all the allegedly overrated breweries: “[S]o many folks that post here still spend their time knocking down breweries that dare to grow. It’s like that old joke: ‘Nobody eats at that restaurant anymore, it’s too crowded. Except the ‘restaurants’ that people shit on here aren’t exactly juggernauts.” Calagione went on to say, “This thread is hilarious. Seriously, Bells, Founders, FFF, Surly, RR, DFH, Bruery, Avery, Cigar City, Mikkeller are all overrated?…Hopefully soon we will have every craft brewery in the US on the list.”

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