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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
In this reviewers humble opinion, this book is a rather fun overview of the founding and growing of Dogfish Head brewery. Though I did somewhat enjoy Sam's writing style and some of the witty stories, the book never really leans completely towards being either a true recipe for building a successful business or a fun and lighthearted read about the good and bad times of opening his own business. Instead this book lands somewhere in between.

I would say that those individuals with experience in opening a business, or having a college background in business or management would find the contents rather uninformative. It reads like a very beginner book for those who have thought about opening a business but have never really studied up on the subject. Unfortunately those individuals to whom this book is targeted, are the most likely to fail in opening a business. Reading this might open their eyes to much of the unseen costs and time put in to start up.

The book mainly centers around Sam's personal beliefs. It never really delves deeply into subjects such as licensing, raising startup capital, insurance, liabilities, theft, and planning. Instead he briefly touches on these subjects and then discusses his own personal beliefs and opinions on the subjects. "I think I did great because I had great people" or "Make sure to take some time off, I find that it really helps me creatively". Good words of advice, but not what I am looking for as a major source of information for opening a business.

I do love the craft brewery market, and this does contain some fun stories (though not enough in my opinion) so that is why it gets 3 stars.

Though I did find some anecdotes interesting, I think there are much better business texts out there that one should use as a guideline for opening a business, this is just one book that can be added to a collection of the many books you can and SHOULD read before starting a business.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I really liked reading the book and am a pretty big dogfish head fan. When I looked into this book I thought it would be more of a outline and a guide book on opening a brewery than anecdotal tales from Sam. If you are looking for a book to help you figure out what you need to be a successful brewery than I would recommend you look for another book. If you are just looking for a book that tells you stories on some of the weirder hurdles that dogfish head had to contend with or just some more knowledge on dogfish head ideology and guidelines then this is your book.
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
If you are expecting to learn anything about Dogfish Head Brewery and how it came to be, or if you are interested in brewing in general, this book doesn't have much to offer. It's mostly a collection of trite business advice, "Know Your Customer," illustrated with very short and superficial anecdotes from Sam's life and experiences. Some of these would probably be interesting if he spent more than a couple of paragraphs on them. I'm currently reading a book about watching yeast grow (White and Zainasheff) that's far more interesting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Interesting book, but not solely a history of Dogfish Head. Sam is an English major and it definitely shows in his writing style. The book is as much (or more) a motivational, inspirational tome as it is the story of the brewery. Some great anecdotes sprinkled throughout and a lot of food (or should I say 'beer') for thought.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
This "book" is just one really long press release written by the brewery's owner. He goes on for 200 pages about how cool his company is. How "outside the box" they are. It's all a little self-indulgent and amateurish. I was looking for a little more of the logistics of starting a business, not an ego-stroking diary.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I purchased this book for my husband. I reviewed it, prior. My husband does not like to read for leisure. So, I was impressed that he both quickly read AND enjoyed this book.
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on February 21, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Like many reviewers I was hoping to figure out how / more about the brewing process. You are not going to find that here. He does give a few hints here and there. And he did admit that he only brews about 1 week a year now. The grunt work is up to his employees. Another disappointment is that he doesn't explain or tell the story how he got his first customers outside of his brewpub. Or tell you more about how he dealt with employees stealing which happens in every bar. Sam must be a hell of a talker inorder to get the law changed and his first loan. He doesn't really explain that well either. Basically the book is common sense business stuff with a few stories of his struggles. I was hoping more down in the nuts and bolts but he doesn't get that deep. That said, it is his story and his point, I think, is to give inspiration. For that he does well but...the title of the book is misleading in that you think he is going to tell you more about brewing. That makes it a bit disappointing.
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on December 28, 2014
Format: Paperback
Sam Calagione founded Milton Delaware’s Dogfish Head Brewery and gained a reputation for brewing off-centered ales for off-centered people. This is his story of his brewery. He exudes the entrepreneurial spirit and recalls a quote from Goethe: "Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it." The book is punctuated with sage advice especially about the importance of brand building but Calagione's mastery of guerrilla marketing provides one of the more important lessons for the aspiring brewer or entrepreneur. He inspires with his passion and strives to ignite the passion of those around him. This is less a book about the nuts and bolts of starting a brewery and more about the philosophy and character needed to start a business. It’s inspiring but as much biography as business oriented. If you want a blueprint for forming a brewery, look elsewhere but if you want a fun read, get this book. I give it 4 stars for entertainment value and would give it a star less for substance.
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on February 22, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Sam Calagione provides a glimpse into the wacky world of an entrepreneur. He shows that you CAN have fun and love what you're doing and work really, really hard. I like this book in that it shows the creative ways that entrepreneurs can build a brand through PR and marketing activities that are relatively cheap. In the world of beer/alcohol, it's David vs. Goliath so you really need to change the rules of the game. Sam has done that magnificently.
Note: Dogfishhead is one of my favorite beers although I have no affiliation with them.
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on September 28, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Sam's book reads like a good story because that is what it is. He is telling you about his journey from a home brewer to a commercial brewer. It is a good story and fun to read but if you are not careful you may find yourself learning something from it as well. This may be a book about brewing beer but it is also a book that provides insight on what life can throw your way and how one can overcome the obstacles and succeed. We can all learn a little something in that area I am sure.
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