Sam Calagione & Dogfish Head Keep Brewing Winners

on 21/12/10 at 3:48 pm

Beer

Teetering on the brink of bankruptcy in the late 1990s, craft beer maker Sam Calagione would occasionally dodge the impatient creditors who called him on a daily basis by telling them that his computer had just caught on fire and he had to hang up the phone immediately. Although sales of his exotic brews — infused with everything from St. John’s wort to juniper berries — were growing steadily, Calagione’s Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in coastal Delaware was flat out of cash.

And no wonder: Calagione hadn’t worried much about expenses after he founded his company in 1995. An English major in college who counted Ayn Rand and Walt Whitman as two of his favorite writers, he believed that beer making wasn’t just a business; it was art. “I was a hopeless romantic,” says Calagione, now 41, who started his company with $110,000 in family loans, which he in turn used as collateral for bank loans. Whether that meant adding pricey saffron to his Midas Touch “golden elixir,” which is based on ingredients found in drinking vessels unearthed from King Midas’ 2700-year old grave in Turkey, or creating his deep, dark World Wide Stout, which is 18% alcohol by volume (about four times as much as a Bud Light), Calagione almost always indulged his wildest feats of imagination, no matter how much they cost him.
{Full story via Time}

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