Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione Responds To Haters

Following on the heels of Marc Vetri’s missive against Restaurant Week we offer you Sam Calagione’s takedown of posters to a BeerAdvocate thread on the most overrated brewery. Calagione, owner of Dogfish Head Brewery calls out the haters in fine fashion.

It’s pretty depressing to frequently visit this site and see the most negative threads among the most popular. This didn’t happen much ten years ago when craft beer had something like a 3 percent market share. Flash forward to today, and true indie craft beer now has a still-tiny but growing marketshare of just over 5 percent. Yet so many folks that post here still spend their time knocking down breweries that dare to grow. It’s like that old joke: “Nobody eats at that restaurant anymore, it’s too crowded.” Except the “restaurants” that people shit on here aren’t exactly juggernauts. In fact, aside from Boston Beer, none of them have anything even close to half of one percent marketshare. The more that retailers, distributors, and large industrial brewers consolidate the more fragile the current growth momentum of the craft segment becomes. The more often the Beer Advocate community becomes a soap box for outing breweries for daring to grow beyond its insider ranks the more it will be marginalized in the movement to support, promote, and protect independent ,American, craft breweries.

It’s interesting how many posts that refer to Dogfish being over-rated include a caveat like “except for Palo…except for Immort…etc.” We all have different palettes which is why it’s a great thing that there are so many different beers. At Dogfish we’ve been focused on making “weird” beers since we opened and have taken our lumps for being stylistically indifferent since day one. I bet a lot of folks agree that beers like Punkin Ale (since 1995) , Immort Ale (wood aged smoked beer) since 1995, Chicory Stout (coffee stout) since 1995 , Raison D’être (Belgian brown) since 1996, , Indian Brown Ale (dark IPA) since 1997, and 90 Minute (DIPA) since 2000 don’t seem very weird anymore. That’s in large part because so many people who have been part of this community over the years championed them and helped us put them on the map.These beers, and all of our more recent releases like Palo Santo, Burton Baton, Bitches Brew continue to grow every year. We could have taken the easy way out and just sold the bejeezus out of 60 Minute to grow but we like to experiment and create and follow our own muse. Obviously there is an audience that appreciates this as we continue to grow. We put no more “hype” or “expert marketing” behind our best selling beers than we do our occasionals. We only advertise in a few beer magazines and my wife Mariah oversees all of our twitter/Facebook/ stuff. We have mostly grown by just sharing our beer with people who are into it (at our pub, great beer bars, beer dinners, and fests) and let them decide for themselves if they like it. If they do we hope they tell their friends about. We hope a bunch of you that are going to EBF will stop by our booth and try some of the very unique new beers we are proudly bringing to market like Tweason’ale (a champagne-esque, gluten-free beer fermented with buckwheat honey and strawberries) and Noble Rot (a sort of saison brewed with Botrytis-infected Viognier Grape must). One of these beers is on the sweeter side and one is more sour. Knowing each of your palettes is unique you will probably prefer one over the other. That doesn’t mean the one you didn’t prefer sucked. And the breweries you don’t prefer but are growing don’t suck either. Respect Beer. The below was my favorite post thus far.

This thread is hilarious. Seriously, Bells, Founders, FFF, Surly, RR, DFH, Bruery, Avery, Cigar City, Mikkeller are all overrated?

Since I’m from Ohio, I’ll pile on and add Great Lakes, Hoppin Frog, and Brew Kettle to the list. Your welcome.

Hopefully soon we will have every craft brewery in the US on the list.

 Most overrated brewery [BeerAdvocate]

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  • TC

    I’m inclined to agree with Calagione about the state of BeerAdvocate. What does overrated signify here? Not much. I like DFH a whole lot, though I can rarely afford their cases. I love how there is always a new DFH beer, something to try out. I’ve been trying to cellar Immort Ale for years, hoping the sweetness will subside, but haven’t liked it yet. But Olde School Barleywine, after 3 years is right up there with Thomas Hardy’s and the like. Burton Baton is fabulous. Red&White likewise. Black&Blue was a beer I couldn’t finish. They’re a brewery that really obviously likes MAKING beer, and sometimes the beer they make is wonderful, and sometimes it’s undrinkable. I wish every brewery (and restaurant) had a similar mindset. Being so experimental is not necessary, but challenging yourselves as brewers is a lot of fun for me, the drinker.

  • is getting almost too tedious to read anymore. Beer nerds ruining it for the rest of us.

  • Austin

    Congrats on being the 1,000th website to repost this one.

    Sam’s a good guy though. Continued success for DFH.

  • Cheltenham Charlie

    Rich is right. It’s not even about Dogfish or Sam Calagione. It’s about idiot BA forum posters. “I liked them before they were popular/sold out” is a tired indie rock cliche.

    Go sleep out in the rain for a chance to buy a raffle ticket which might get you 2 750ml bottles of the latest uber-rare release. Then you can sell one on Ebay and show the other one off to your friends.

  • GrowlerKing

    craft beer has turned into liquid baseball cards. collectors spending their money on beer which may or may not be good, just because its rare. haters hating on a brewers hard work. sure, i have a cynical voice on this website, but the average BA hater makes me sound like a saint. there is a beer, and a restaurant, for everyone.

  • DDP

    Growler said it best. There beers and restaurants for everyone’s tastes. It is silly to declare a company like DFH overrated or passe. They make great and interesting beer. Not everything they make is suited for every tastebud. Nobody’s beer is.

  • diParma

    Kudos to Sam for making DFH one of the great craft breweries in the nation. I use BeerAdvocate only to research beers I have never had before and plan on buying, so I know what to expect tastewise. Other than that, the site is a bunch of nerds and/or snobs. Haters ‘gon hate whoever ever is at the top of their game…Caglione, Vetri..whoever.

  • Michael G

    I wore a Schlitz tee shirt to a beer festival at the cruise shiop terminal just to annoy the beer snobs. I don’t want beer to become like wine but I guess it’s going to happen when the nerds evolve from video games to beer.

  • lisa

    go ahead Sam! That Dogfish Head is a truly self discovering brewery is just wonderful in beer world. if you are a hater, drink something else!

  • LipidLover

    Foobooz strategy for world domination:

    1. Copy internet postings of arguably polarizing individuals involved in “local” food scene.
    2. Paste into Foobooz post.
    3. Sit back and wait for comments to pour in.
    4. Profit.

  • FattyFatMan


    Why are posters on posters on this blog so pissy?

    Yes, foobooz posts by Philly food figures. People read it and respond. Isn’t that what a blog is supposed to do?

  • Dan

    I have been drinking and appreciating fine wines for many years. I remember clearly the days when drinking beer was just a party thing. Can’t think of an American made beer that was worthy of notice in the 80’s. Now , with the creativity being applied to crafting a beer that is flavorful, well textured, and finishes well, American beer is in a league of it’s own. I applaud ALL of the brewmasters committed to and successfully producing beer that has a deserved place at a setting outside of a barstool or in front of the tv for a football game. Kudos to good American beer and to creative brewmasters. Keep playing with interesting approaches and I’ll keep trying them. I may not like them all, but I will surely like the fact that creativity is a priority in this exciting time for American brewmasters and beer drinkers.