“Off-centered ales for off-centered people” is Dogfish Head Brewery’s (DHB) slogan. This phrase originated in the business plan written by Sam Calagione, one of the brewery’s co-founders. Calagione stated that Dogfish Head Brewery would push boundaries in beer. This goal has certainly been achieved over the years and they’ve put it on t-shirts and six-packs so that no one forgets.
DHB opened its doors in 1995 and has grown into one of the largest craft breweries in the US. The year 1999 was a particularly important year for the brewery, as they released 90 Minute IPA (America’s first imperial IPA), and Midas Touch – a beer based on ingredients found in a 2,700-year-old drinking vessel. Midas Touch is described as a beer, wine, and mead hybrid.
Another milestone for the Brewery came in 2019 when they merged with Boston Beer Company. This merger has been beneficial for both companies, but it has also allowed Dogfish Head to continue to grow its efforts in sustainability and community outreach.
Beer & Benevolence is the philanthropic branch of Dogfish Head Brewery. Community outreach, environmental stewardship, nonprofit support, and fostering artistic advancement, all fall under the Beer & Benevolence umbrella.
There are multiple ways Beer & Benevolence has served the local community. One of the more recent was a collaboration brew, participating in the Black is Beautiful project which supported The Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice.
The largest Beer & Benevolence event is the annual Dogfish Dash, an 8K race that benefits The Nature Conservancy efforts in Delaware. The race is a 15-year tradition, starting and ending at the brewery in Milton, Delaware. The race has raised more than $1 million to date. When Dogfish Head Brewery merged with Boston Beer Company, Beer & Benevolence became a large part of the Social Impact Team, led by DHB Co-Founder, Mariah Calagione, and continues to be a priority for the organization.
DHB has been a longtime supporter of The Nature Conservancy. Aside from the Dogfish Dash, founders Sam & Mariah Calagione went on a month-long road trip this year visiting spots all along the east coast from Miami to Maine. Each location was featured in an episode of a docuseries in partnership with TNC. The goal was to “learn more about the environmental issues facing us globally and on a localized level.” This adventure was called, “Mother Nature, Let’s Do This!” And in each episode, the fascinating conservation work The Nature Conservancy is doing in each location is highlighted. All four episodes are available on the DHB website.
Aside from community and environmental support, DHB has fully embraced sustainable practices in each of its brewery locations. There is a large impact with each sustainable choice they make. Sam Calagione shared, “At last calculation, our Breweries supplied more than 52,848 tons in one year (of spent grain), to the animal feed market (and) over the past three years, (our) Pennsylvania Brewery has successfully diverted up to 98% of its waste from landfill.”
DHB recycles at each location, reduces water use, uses carbon dioxide (CO2) recovery systems, and recycles recovered beer.
A brew that captures their sustainable practices is Re-Gen-Ale, which was first released in September 2020. This Belgian-style ale is brewed with wheat grown with regenerative farming by Doug Keesling, a Kansas-based farmer, and malt from Epiphany Malt in North Carolina (also dedicated to regenerative farming). Regenerative growing practices aim to repair soil health and remove carbon dioxide from the air.
When Dogfish Head Brewery opened, they were the smallest commercial brewery in the US. In the early years, the Brewery wanted to support the community that so quickly supported them. Now, as a leader in the craft beer community, they continue to expand their support for the community and the environment. DHB has a knack for pushing the boundaries of what beer can be, and certainly, what beer can do.