Chapter 3The Radically Changing Beer Business

Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.

—Andy Warhol

As Dogfish marks its 20th anniversary, the new world order of the craft beer industry couldn't be more different from when we started. The beer and spirits industries are on the cusp of a gathering storm. In the 20 years since Dogfish Head opened, this is the most competitive environment I've ever seen. Independent brands are being bought at record valuations, with multiples as high as 20 times earnings. But the bath, as brewmasters say, is always frothiest just before the bubble bursts.

Change is the ultimate constant in any business. It is inevitable. Nothing stays the same. The marketplace is fluid, dynamic, and constantly evolving. The hardest thing about confronting change is being ready for it—you're either anticipating it or reacting to it. As an entrepreneur you need to build up a tolerance to change-induced anxiety in the same way you must build up a tolerance for risk.

Our industry is in the midst of a major transition; our challenge is to determine what this will mean to Dogfish Head and get ahead of the curve. Tectonic plates are shifting as drinkers in the United States and around the world are starting to lose their taste for the industrial light lagers the megacorporate brewers have built their empires on.

A Brief History of the American Beer Industry

Prior to 1920, when the 18th Amendment was ratified, a robust brewing culture ...

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