Sam Calagione is a true home brewer that has turned a personal hobby into a thriving and respectable business known for continually creating amazing craft beers in an awesome work environment.
When Sam got his start in brewing beer at home, he was working in New York City as a bartender while taking some graduate classes back in the early 90’s. He ended up getting very interested in craft beer while working as a bartender and started brewing right at home in his apartment with very low-tech equipment. He even took a trip to Maine and went through an apprentice course at the famous Shipyard Brewery.
Sam continued to brew at home, eventually moving to Delaware with his wife.
He was working at a restaurant while also trying to find a bank to give him a loan that would make his brewery dream a reality. He eventually got a bank to provide him a loan for a restaurant and without any extra money for brewing equipment, he cut the top off of 3 kegs and put together a 12 gallon system. Launching in 1995, this truly was the smallest commercial brewery at the time, but Sam still managed to produce 350 barrels (10,850 gallons) of beer in the first year using his small setup and intense motivation. As time went on, he opened his second brewery at an old cannery in the area to step up his production to 5 barrels (155 gallons) at a time. He has said that he used to get bored of brewing the same beer over and over, so he’d throw in raisins or apricots, even maple syrup just to see what happened.
Eventually he built a facility in Milton, Delaware, while still holding on to his 5 barrel brewery in Rehoboth, Delaware that he stills uses today for experimentation. The Milton operation is now producing 175,000 barrels (5.4 million gallons) of beer per year. To his credit, Sam has never given up on trying new things with his beer, and he is an excellent example of what can happen when you start adding unconventional ingredients to your beer. His 5 barrel system has been used to produce beers that can be around 20% alcohol content with very unique flavors. He even did one brew called Pangea, utilizing ingredients from all 7 continents, including water from Antarctica.
Sam Calagione is one of many great examples of people who love beer and are more than willing to try new things with it.
We hope you find a similar interest in crafting your own flavors just like Sam does, and if not, we highly encourage you to try it sometime!
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