Dogfish Head is a pillar of the craft community. But in recent years, they have seen sales stay flat or slightly dip. Recent deals and expansions haven’t seemed to have the impact they hoped for. So what should Sam Calagione and company do?
It wasn’t too long ago that I remember emailing Dogfish (because their bottles said you could) and getting a response from Sam’s wife. That might still be the case, but to me, Dogfish sits in an uncomfortable product purgatory. While they were once the higher end of the craft spectrum five to ten years ago, they now sit somewhere between the $10 six pack and the $20+ stouts and hazy IPAs.
In an attempt to reduce operating fees and open distribution channels, they partnered with Sam Adams in a mildly intriguing merger. They have also begun to expand into liquor and pre-made canned mixed drinks, as well as seltzers. But the self described off-center culture that they have cultivated since their beginning seems to fade with every passing new product.
It’s indeed a tough predicament. While regional or super local breweries seem to pop up like weeds, the national scene isn’t always as fertile as it may seem. Dogfish Head will have to make some tough choices about trying to expand into new markets or focusing on a smaller distribution area to sell as much product as possible.