Off-Centered Ales In a Digital World

By Anshey Bhatia • August 7, 2014


Dogfish Head Brewery


What is Dogfish Head?

Dogfish Head is the first craft brewery in the state of Delaware, led by the creative and off-centered Sam Calagione. They are considered a craft brewery, meaning their annual production is less than 6 million barrels of beer or less, and is at least 75% owned or controlled by a craft brewer (Brewer’s Association). From staples like their 60 Minute IPA, to very limited and brewpub exclusives like their Peruvian Chicha beer, it is hard to find a Dogfish Head brew that won’t tickle your tastebuds.


Why We Love Dogfish

Dogfish Head is as innovative as it gets in the beer industry. They use ancient recipes, bizarre ingredients, and spur of the moment ideas to push the envelope in creating unique and delicious beer, time and time again. Not only do the off-centered ales for off-centered people attract us to Dogfish Head, but their brand and story resonate with our team. We create great digital platforms that build relationships, just as Dogfish Head does with their brews.  Not to mention, we can be a bit off-centered ourselves.




Dogfish in a Nutshell

Sam first opened the doors in 1995, and through unconventional innovation, the brewery has grown like wildfire. The brewery (shown above) is based in Milton, DE, with the original brewpub located in Rehoboth Beach, DE. They have nearly 20 styles of beer that are sold in 25 states, as well as some hand-crafted spirits. Dogfish Head has created a lifestyle brand focused on off-centered ales. They own their own Inn for the ultimate Dogfish Head experience, have multiple Alehouses, host multiple events throughout the year, and attend many festivals across the country.


Secret to Success

There are now over 2,700 craft breweries in the United States, and Dogfish Head is ranked 13th in terms of sales volume as of 2013.  In 1995, when Dogfish Head first opened, there were just under 900 breweries in the United States, so why has Dogfish Head been able to sustain growth and dominance in the market?  It is simple, really. They never stop innovating. Having a small-batch brewing system at their brewpub allows them to constantly experiment. The beers that they do produce are also all original and unique, and each one has some sort of story on how it was born. Dogfish Head created the idea of continually hopping, they were the first to clone many ancient beer recipes, and they constantly find ways to create great new beers in ways that no one else has done before.




Current Digital Presence

Dogfish Head is very active in the digital space, keeping their website constantly updated with new announcements about events and new beers, a list of every beer they have brewed accompanied by a compelling story, and a tool that allows anyone to find the closest store near them carrying the brew(s) they want to get their hands on. They have a huge following on Twitter and Facebook (192k and 344k, respectively), making social media a big part of their marketing agenda. Dogfish also has an Alehouse App, allowing users to always know what is on tap at each alehouse, get info, and receive deals.


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Areas for Improvement

While Dogfish Head is on all of the appropriate digital channels, there are areas of improvement to better capture the brand and connect with consumers. Updating the design of the website, making the website responsive, and adding functionality to the existing App are three ways that Dogfish Head can improve the user experience and better connect with their customers.


+ Website

Dogfish Head has created a great brand over the past 19 years, and the website needs to better represent that brand. The current site is a bit overwhelming, and Dogfish Head will be able to create a cleaner and smoother experience by:

+ Simplifying the overall design: Clarify all Call-To-Actions, reduce clutter, increase white space.

+ Providing an easier navigation: Create seamless flow through information, make information easier to find, keep users on site longer.

+ Making the site responsive: Provides a quality user experience on all devices and screen sizes, prepare for devices and screen sizes of the future.


+ Mobile App

The existing app for the alehouses has one great feature, keeping an updated list of what is on tap. The beer community loves to know when a certain beer or is available (especially on tap). While this is a great feature, this is all it does, so we think that adding the following will really improve the App:

+ Fish Finder: Very beneficial for those on the go.

+ Quiz game: Keep it fun and engaging.

+ Push Notifications: Ability to reach users immediately regarding updates and new brews.

+ Reservations: For brewery tours, stays at the Inn, and all other Dogfish Head experiences.

+ Design Updates: Match the new style of the website, improve user experience.



In Closing

Dogfish is doing some great things both in the physical world as well as the digital world. Their beers are delicious, the atmospheres at their establishments are exciting, and their storytelling is passionate. They have created a great brand, and by utilizing the digital world they can expand their reach and enhance their connection with consumers.


Anshey Bhatia

Founder of Verbal+Visual. E-commerce nerd. People connector. Travel junkie. Tech lover.

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