My take: Dogfish Head stays off-center and that’s a good thing

Jim Koch and Sam Calagione with their flagship beers.

(Sam Calagione, right and Boston Beer founder Jim Koch)

Dogfish Head owner Boston Beer Co. released its third quarter report last month.

The earnings report of Dogfish Head owner Boston Beer does not get much attention in Delaware. Dogfish is only a small sales piece for Boston Beer, a craft brewing pioneer with a knack for tapping into the latest adult beverage fads.

Wall Street likes what it sees with Boston Beer’s earnings. The company’s stock price in 2023 has not been hammered to the same extent as its much larger competitors.

Propelling the results is Boston Beer having two winners with its Twisted Tea and Hard Mountain Dew brands.


Sales of Dogfish Head brands, as well as its flagship Sam Adams brews, have been soft in the brutally competitive industry. You can also add in the Angry Orchard cider offerings that have tapered off in popularity. Sales of Boston Beer’s Truly brand of seltzers cooled off with the company a couple of years back literally dumping excess inventory to avoid a fire sale.

Boston Beer’s flagship, Sam Adams, struggles with the image of the brand being your “dad’s brew” among younger drinkers.

Dogfish, while well regarded in craft brewing circles, competes for restaurant and bar taps while dealing with hyperlocal breweries and competitors that were snapped up by brewing giants. In its home state, we have more than a couple of dozen mini-breweries despite recent closings.

The good news so far is that from the outside looking in, little has changed to date at Dogfish Head which remains pretty much a free-standing operation anchored by its Milton brewery, still a to tourist attraction. Dogfish continues to roll out “off-centered” small-batch brews and has not resorted to deep discounting.

The other Sussex County ventures, an inn in Lewes and two restaurants in Rehoboth Beach, remain in place.

Boston Beer reduces its exposure to the ups and downs of the beverage industry by having most of its production (except Dogfish Head) outsourced to other breweries.

While nothing is certain in the beer world, the 2019 acquisition by Boston Beer has been a plus fo Sussex County and Delaware, with co-founders Mariah and Sam Calagione continuing their philanthropic efforts.

Mariah and Sam also opted to take Boston Beer stock rather than cash, meaning they are still invested in the future of the company. When you check out the leadership page of Boston Beer, the Calagiones and Jim Koch are listed as founders of the company.

By the way, Boston Beer founder Koch has an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.