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Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (DE) - Fully Integrating Art Into Work Culture, Product, and Place
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (DE)
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Fully Integrating Art Into Work Culture, Product, and Place

“Art is an essential component to good living," says Dogfish Head Craft Brewery founder Sam Calagione. “And we’re proud to support the people who are making Sussex a better place to live and work.”


At Dogfish, beer brewing is considered a form of art, and the company loves to work alongside and support other original artists. From their label designs to their music collaborations to the live bands every weekend at their Rehoboth Beach brewpub, the arts are in Dogfish Head’s DNA. Dogfish began supporting the arts in the same year it was founded, 1995. Dogfish Head’s founder, original brewer, and President Sam Calagione was an English major in college and had a long-standing appreciation for the literary arts, a passion for music, and a keen eye for visual creations. 


Being a craft brewery, they pride themselves on creativity, and their support of the arts often helps attract candidates that also share an interest in being creative. From a retention side, many employees get excited to learn about the thriving area arts community when participating in their onboarding with the company. They also send out ‘what’s happening around here’ communications on a regular basis listing music, live performance art, exhibit openings, etc. Retention and recruitment are great residual benefits of their emphasis on the arts.


Since 1995, they have maintained a strong commitment to the arts. In addition to including arts into their own operations, Dogfish Head provides cash, in-kind products, services, volunteerism, and marketing support to the arts in a variety of ways. Many of these fall under “Beer & Benevolence” (B&B), the community engagement department of Dogfish Head.   A portion of the B&B mission and budget is dedicated to the arts specifically. The mission statement of B&B is: Beer & Benevolence is the philanthropic branch of Dogfish Head that endeavors to creatively collaborate with non-profit organizations to foster community, nourish artistic advancement, and cultivate environmental stewardship. The 2015 B&B budget included over $75,000.00 dedicated solely for supporting the arts. The B&B department not only oversees the administrative side of donor requests and support, but often will dedicate hours to an organization to assist with event planning, brainstorming, and execution. Every other year, they hold “Beer & Benevolence” mixers for non-profits; a chance to connect with organizations and let them know how Dogfish can support them. In 2015, as part of their annual Beer & Benevolence holiday gift awards, they awarded $30,000 to southern Delaware nonprofits that support the arts. Their invitation to apply demonstrates their commitment to the community, as well as their wisdom in encouraging stable and thoughtful management.


In their own words, “Here at Dogfish, we consider the beer we brew a form of art, and we love to work alongside and support other original artists. From our label designs to our music collaborations to the live bands every weekend at our Rehoboth Beach brewpub, the arts are in Dogfish Head’s DNA.”


In 2015, the Founder Sam was recognized for his long-time support of the Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival.  He received the “Producer of the Year” award from the organization for supporting this festival for the last 20 years with Dogfish Head beer product and financial sponsorship.


Each year, a diverse group of Dogfish Head employees form a committee to award funds to local non-profits to continue to enhance the quality of life in coastal Delaware. “We’ve enjoyed tremendous support here in Sussex,” says Mark Carter, Dogfish Head's Beer & Benevolence guru. “We’re happy to return the good karma.”


Their craft beer labels represent original artwork commissioned by the brewery, including featured “seasonal artists” for their seasonal beer labels.


Here’s a break-down of just how serious they are to making room for the arts into their products and carry that into their customer relationships. 


The Brewery: The first thing one sees when they visit is the Steampunk Treehouse, a massive art piece made by an art collaborative from the Bay Area specifically for Burning Man. Aside from the Steampunk Treehouse, the brewery is a work of art, designed by a Philadelphia architecture firm that incorporates green technologies and blends wood and metal. 


The beer labels: They bring in an artist to create the labels and their art adorns four of the beer products through the seasons.   


Their Music Series of Beers: They have worked with various musicians over the years to create collaborative beers that celebrate music and beer. Artists have included: Miles Davis (estate), Pearl Jam, Bonnie Prince Billy, The Grateful Dead, Juliana Barkwick, Guided By Voices, Robert Johnson (estate), and Deltron 3030. An employee perk from one collaboration was an in-brewhouse concert by a performer for their employees to celebrate the beer and art.


Dogfish works to make sure all of these stories are told. The Steampunk Treehouse, the label arts, the merch. They like working with other artists, and they help to share their stories.



With all the notable activity mentioned above it is easy to see that the 2016 BCA 10 winner, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, is proud to promote and support the arts. They frequently illustrate their enthusiasm and appreciation for the arts.

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