Sam Calagione, founder of Delaware’s Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and the focus of Discovery’s new program Brew Masters, which debuts Sunday at 10 p.m., sees little difference between making beer and making a TV show. “Both require talented people coming together and creating something in an almost communal way,” Calagione told Grub Street. “I’d say the biggest difference is the timelines. The TV process seems to be about spontaneity, while the brewing process — from the day you come up with the idea to the day its on the market — can take five or six weeks.”
As Calagione sees it, Brew Masters, which follows him around the world as he and his brewers track down the best and most imaginative brews while seeking out exotic ingredients and ancient recipes for their own beers, isn’t so much about him or Dogfish Head, but the worldwide beer culture. “The show is really a celebration of the global craft brewing renaissance shown through the lens of one company,” he explains. “Dogfish Head is the focus but some episodes feature other craft breweries, like Epic Brewing in Auckland, New Zealand and Birra del Borgo in Rome.”
In the six months since he began making Brew Masters, Calagione says camera crews have been on him constantly, following his every move. Now that the majority of the first season’s episodes are in the can, he says they’re now shooting only twice a week. But with or without the camera crews, he says his day-to-day life hasn’t been altered much. “It’s not like we’ve changed anything we do at Dogfish Head to do this show,” he said. “Eighty percent of what’s been shot are projects that Dogfish Head was already doing whether or not there was a television show. So it’s the same challenges, it’s just that they’ve been amplified.”
Those challenges include Dogfish Head’s constant struggles to meet the growing demand for their beers. With so much attention on the brewery already for creating highly innovative beers, Calagione believes Brew Masters has the potential to exacerbate this dilemma.
“Sure we’re going to run out of shit, but that’s okay,” Calagione said. “Because the message of the show is Dogfish Head is just an example of one of 1,600 really interesting, indie craft breweries in America. If you can’t find our beer, great go try one from someone else.”