Customer Reviews: Brewing Up a Business: Adventures in Entrepreneurship from the Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
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Showing 1-5 of 5 reviews(1 star). Show all reviews
on June 30, 2011
I really wanted to enjoy this book. However, I found most of his advice it incredibly simple - basically, it could all be boiled down to "believe in yourself and work really hard." WOW. That's insightful. To make it worse, he repeated it all the time, and not in an organized fashion. I didn't expect some amazing-never-heard-before-philosophy or anything, but I was looking for something a little more than what he gave.

I also found some of his stories questionable. For example, I own his television series and he mentioned in one of those shows that he got the name "Dogfish Head" when he was talking on his phone with his dad, and after having told his dad he wanted to be a professional brewer, his dad looked up and saw a street sign labeled "Dogfish head." His father suggested he name the brewery Dogfish Head and so he went with it. But in the book, he merely described the story of naming his brewery based on the fact that Dogfish Head was an area he used to spend a lot of time in as a child. He seems so fond of telling stories - why leave that one, such an important one to the brewery - out of the book? It could be that he just didn't want to "double dip", but an alternative guess is that the story of talking to his dad was more exciting for television so he created that for the show. However, it made me question the rest of his stories, as well. Does he embellish? If so, how much does he embellish? On the plus side, his stories were entertaining, even if I questioned them a bit.

Lastly, I expected to learn a little more about brewing from him. I realize this isn't a how-to book, but in all reality, it doesn't seem like he talks about making beer much other than "and I just threw a bunch of ingredients in the pot without measuring like my grandma used to do and everyone loved it!" The part when he was describing his first batch of beer made in his apartment or his first set up at the at the brewpub was fascinating, and more of that would have made the book more interesting. That's how his television series is. His book was more like an autobiography of Sam and his grand views on life, and I just didn't enjoy it. Sorry.
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on March 22, 2008
This story is nothing more then a rich frat brat branching out on his own for the first time. He has the full support of his rich and successful parents and in-laws who catch him as he fails misaerably and redirects him to success, which he takes full credit for. This is a self promotion book plain and simple. I understand a business represents the owner but this book is over the top.

I thought I was spending my money on a good book about crafting beers and building a microbrewery. But instead, it was wasted on a autobiography about Sam Calagione.

Take my advice, don't waste your time!
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on August 4, 2005
Many of the other reviewers seem to love this book, I don't know why I feel differently. Honestly, after 100 pages I am not sure that I will continue reading. I expected more from an Author who received a college degree in English. I find the book to be humorous but terribly disorganized and repetitive. At times I wondered if I had lost my place and picked up at an earlier chapter in the book. The stories are interesting but I find them to be filled with subjective assessments of consumers. The stories would have been more convincing if some of the consumer insights had quantitative evidence that supported them. Oddly, I found similar issues in a book by the CEO of one of the "nameless and faceless" companies ("Grinding it out" by Ray Kroc of McDonalds) that Sam often mentions but I found the book by the faceless organization to be much more engaging. Maybe I just am not off centered enough to appreciate this book. One of these days I will try the beer though.
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on November 5, 2008
Okay, everyone who has read this loves Sam's beer, its amazing. His beer makes you feel good, and so does the book. The problem is that we readers dont want to feel good, we want to know how to make the stuff that makes you feel good and how to get that feel good stuff to people. I suppose that those tidbits about overcoming bad business blues is important, but I would think that the home brewer already has a penchant for overcoming those obsticals. Anyhow, its more like a coach giving a speach before the big game, not the coaching required to get you prepared for the big game.
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on October 26, 2009
Sam makes great beer and it's a good thing because he can't write: "If an innovative idea was meant to succeed it will, and if it wasn't it won't." Okay Sherlock Holmes, thanks for that groundbreaking insight.

Keep in mind three things about this company:
1. They, (Yes, a successful company is about more than one person. It's a lot of talented people and team work, but you would never know it listening to P. T. B. Sam.) Dogfish Head, got started when the microbrew craze took off.
2. Beer is not rocket science - it's only four ingredients. One of which is water.
3. Simple minds always confuse being unconventional with being innovative. That's just snobbishness, which is what all microbrew marketing targets.

If you want to read this book, be smart and save your money for beer, get it from the library.
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