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4.2 out of 5 stars11
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 4 December 2013
Either this book is an autobiography, or business advice for craft brewers--but it can't promise to be both.

What this book mostly wasn't: helpful tips for starting a craft brewery by way of a personal tale of starting one of the most successful craft breweries in the US.

What it mostly was: a former English major's braggy autobiography about his exceptionalism and his personal tale of starting one of the most successful craft breweries in the US.

The book has several key faults. This most major one is that the advice of the book can be broken down into several pithy statements: be true to yourself, be true to your brand, know and listen to your customers. These generic comments are useful for any type of business, you just can't base an entire book on them. Almost every single section of the book is a rewording of one or several of those points. This started to become evident when some of his anecdotes started reappearing, and I'm only a third of the way through the book. The book is seriously in need of an editor; I'm not sure how it made it into the second edition with those kinds of blunders.

You should expect these kinds of books to be motivational, to encourage the timid would-be craft brewer into taking the plunge into the business. What Calagione fails to do is acknowledge his privilege and his exceptionalism, and presents them almost as bragging. In the first chapter he presents the story of his party-animal teenage self kicked out of a prep school. Most people aren't gutsy enough to be kicked out of their high school, and most kids don't have the kind of support that gives them things like prep school. Calagione also founded his company at a time when interest in craft beer was exploding, and rode that wave.

Make no mistake, Calagione is an exceptional man and has accomplished great things as a result of that. The problem is that he presents a tale that can only be accomplished by an exceptional man with support, not an aspiring brewer.

Despite all this, we should thank Calagione for sharing his journey with a growing public of aspiring craft brewers. If you comb the book you will find nuggets of advice in some of the anecdotes. Given a thorough edit, this book could be an enjoyable autobiography with some amusing anecdotes. But this book will never be a useful guide to the aspiring craft brewer.
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on 30 August 2011
This book by Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione is pitched as a generic business book, but is mainly focused on his experiences in setting up Dogfish Head's brewpub/restarant and craft brewery. As an aspiring microbrewer, that is why this book was so fascinating for me - this guy and his team have come up with some supremely innovative and inspiring ideas on how to succeed in the craft brewing sector. Sam also describes the hard graft required to break through in an industry dominated by giant corporations by 'scratching out a niche till it bleeds'. If you are thinking about bringing a new or innovative product to market, this could be the book that gets your brain cells thinking about different routes to succeed.
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on 13 February 2015
I really enjoyed this book because I'm a keen home brewer, probably too keen of you ask my Mrs.

It really got me thinking about innovative ideas linked to my own brewing. I would recommend this to any home or craft brewer that is looking to be inspired in order to explore their talents further. This book looks at the brewing world as a journey from a business idea to a business success. I guess it's a kind of brewing autobiography, of sorts.
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on 12 October 2013
This was a great read, as a aspiring brewer this book really gives you an insight into the hard work an dedication it takes to make a idea into reality. Not only that it's humorous, some of the things that Sam gets up to is quite laugh out loud funny. I would recommend this book to any homebrewer, entrepreneur or someone just after a good book
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A combination of Brewing autobiography with Sam Calogione's personal take on how to run a business: great advice, good stories and a basically good romp through the building of a brewery and craft beer savvy. Great reading for homebrewers and craft beer enthusiasts.
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on 28 September 2013
small subheadings under which anecdotes and entrepreneurial snippets are written are really good and make the book very easy to dip in and out of. So much more personal and fun than a serious business guide, with all the same great info
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on 20 January 2016
A book about his experience from startin a brewery from the very beginning. Doesn't say much about how he knows how to brew, or the science of brewing. Very enjoyable.
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on 11 January 2014
The Book was for a gift and it seemed to please my son in-law as beer making is his hobby.
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on 16 December 2015
A general story behind the history of dogfish and general marketing advice
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on 24 June 2013
I bought this for a friend who was contemplating setting up a very small scale micro-brewery. The grandness of the operation described in this book seems to have put him off his own project for good.
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