In 1995, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery opened the first brewpub in Delaware. Located in downtown Rehoboth Beach, it was the smallest commercial brewery in the United States, making just 10 gallons of beer at a time. Today, Dogfish Head is the 12th-largest craft brewery in the country.
Craft beer-lovers and hospitality pros around the country recognize the Dogfish name. In 2015, Wine Enthusiast named Dogfish Head the Brewery of the Year, and in 2017, the James Beard Foundation honored Founder Sam Calagione with the award for Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Professional.
The “off-centered” brand has extended its business model beyond beer. In addition to the downtown brewpub and the main brewery campus in Milton, Dogfish Head has a distilling division. The Dogfish Inn in Lewes, which debuted in 2014, has become a base for tourists making pilgrimages to the brewery and brewpub.
In 2016, Dogfish opened the seafood restaurant Chesapeake & Maine next to Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats and started building a new brewpub, which opened in May 2017. The old site was demolished to make way for a courtyard between the two restaurants.
Calagione refuses to rest on his malt and hops. “We are more innovative at Dogfish Head today than we have ever been in our 23 years of existence,” he says. “We have five different-sized brewing systems, three kitchens, two distilleries and hundreds of co-workers coming together every day to collaborate on new creations, adventurous dishes and beverage recipes.”
Since 1995, when Gov. Tom Carper signed a Delaware brewpub statute into law, Dogfish has benefited from doing business in the state. “Delaware has a long tradition of being both business- and agriculture-friendly,” Calagione says. “Dogfish is a local, family-owned, community-minded company that melds those worlds together every day.”