Dogfish Head Beer Continues to Flow Through Firefly
“We are as much music geeks as we are beer geeks here at Dogfish,” Sam Calagione, owner of Dogfish Head, said. “Every weekend we have live original music at our Brew Pub and have for twenty years.”
The music festival takes place over four days, typically Thursday through Sunday. Many nationally known bands perform at the festival.
According to Firefly officials, there were 48 performances held over the course of the festival in 2012, 71 bands in 2013, and 95 bands are scheduled to perform in 2014.
When the festival was first announced, Dogfish Head contacted the Red Frog Events group and Red Frog acknowledged them as the Mid-Atlantic brewery they wanted to work with.
“We even worked with Red Frog to develop a beer, Firefly Ale, specifically for this festival and it’s basically a very quaffable sessionable pale ale that is brewed with English barley because the Sex Pistols invented punk rock and American hops because The Ramones invented punk rock,” Calagione said.
For the festival, The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway includes seven stages, named The Porch Stage, The Lawn Stage, The Backyard Stage, the Big Break Stage, The Forest Stage, and The Firefly Stage.
Now the big question on everyone’s mind is, why did Dogfish Head chose Firefly?
“At Firefly we average ten thousand pints of Dogfish Head beer every day and it’s a four day event so that’s quite a few kegs we share with beer lovers there,” Calagione said. Calagione said Dogfish Heads’ favorite part of the weekend is “hanging out with just hard core beer lovers who are wearing the shirts and high-fiving you at the festival and they’re super psyched that Dogfish Head has kind of become as much of the festival as hanging out and listening to music that you love.”
This year the festival will begin on June 18th and you can expect to see Dogfish Head’s tent set up all weekend.
Interview with Dogfish Head Owner Sam Calagione:
WBOC– Could you tell me about your involvement with the Firefly Music Festival?
Calagione– Sure so, Dogfish Head has been the craft beer sponsor of the Firefly Festival since the moment it was conceived. We’re really really proud of that relationship, we even worked with Red Frog to develop a beer, Firefly Ale, specifically for this festival and its basically a very quaffable sessionable pale ale that is brewed with English barley because the Sex Pistols invented punk rock and American hopps because the Ramones invented punk rock.
WBOC – You were just telling me how Dogfish head loves music, can you tell me a little bit about that?
Calagione– Yeah, I mean we are just as much music geeks as we are beer geeks here at Dogfish, every weekend we have live original music at our brew pub, and have for twenty years. In fact this weekend, the June 11th weekend we have our ‘Analog Go Go’ a giant vinyl music and cast beer festival that starts with an amazing concert with a California band called Tall Tales and the Silver Lining on Thursday and other great bands at out pub through the weekend. So, music really is at the heart of what we love about the opportunity to express yourself creatively like we do with our beers.
WBOC – Can you tell me how much beer you guys sell over the weekend at Firefly?
Calagione – Sure, so its a pretty impressive number, it’s our single biggest volume event of the year, even compared to the Great American Beer Fest, the largest beer festival in America. At Firefly, we average about 10,000 pints of beer everyday, and it’s a four-day event. So, it’s quite a few kegs we we share with beer lovers there.
WBOC -Wow, that’s incredible. So, I’ve also been seeing you guys are number one, you’re on the top of Buzzfeed, as the beer you should try, and you’ve been on TV shows… Do you guys get a lot of the people from the bands coming to your booth? A lot of musicians, famous people?
Calagione – Yeah you know it’s been cool to interact with the different bands that come into the Dogfish booth, hanging out talking with Elijah Wood, the famous actor, his favorite Dogfish beers. And the other folks that have come through, the guys from Entourage and stuff. That’s been rewarding but really secondarily to just hanging out with just hardcore beer lovers who you see wearing the shirts, and high-fiving you at the festival and their super psyched that Dogfish head has kind of become as much part of the festival as hanging out and listening to the music that you love.
WBOC – Now, how did you get involved with Red frog events?
Calagione – Well, I think it was announced that, you know they kind of had an explosive announcement out of nowhere that this major east coast indie-hip hop festival was gonna happen in Delaware. And literally within ten minutes of the announcement, my wife who’s always on social media and runs that part of our company, texts me and goes Dude we gotta reach out to these guys, this is right up our alley what they’re talking about. And that day we reached out to them, and they were like yup, in our research in Delaware you guys came up as as the Mid-Atlantic brewery we wanted to work with on this, so we immediately started discussing opportunities to create a beer and a destination that the Dogfish beer garden at Firefly is the biggest single tent or programming space of that whole festival and has become a center for excitement and and communication among beer and music lovers.
WBOC – And Dogfish itself has been great for this area obviously, how do you think Firefly impacts the area in Dover?
Calagione – Well I think it definitely helps to put you know, Dogfish Head on the map but more importantly the beauty and approachable of coastal Delaware, for our neighboring cities that are around us, you know the demo of Firefly mostly draws from New York down through Virginia, which is where we sell about 70-80 percent of our beer. I was playing Bocce out here with Governor Jack Markell yesterday and he was talking about just how excited he is for Firefly and country music festivals that are coming up here in that they’re introducing a lot more people that can drive and get to Delaware within a day to reasons to come and see how beautiful our state is.
WBOC – So do you think Firefly is something that you guys will keep participating in year after year?
Calagione – Yeah, I mean it’s our intention to always be the official craft beer of Firefly. We have a great relationship with the folks at Red Frog so we’re very hopeful that we’ll keep paying this one forward and keep making it happen.
WBOC– And my last question, can you tell me about any other music festivals that you guys participate in? Music ones or just festivals in general?
Calagione – I mean yea there’s lots of amazing beer festivals like the Great American Beer Fest that Dogfish sponsors. We sponsor the extreme beer fest, we’re the lead sponsor of that up in Boston every year. Savor, which is a great beer and food wining pairing that I was at this past weekend in D.C is a huge one for us. So, the success of craft beer nationally means that there’s these opportunities to celebrate at festivals pretty much every weekend, kind of pick and choose which ones we love the best. There’s a really great one happening at the end of August, early September here at the ferry launch in Delaware, it goes back and forth between, it’s a festival that’s like a movable feast that goes between Delaware and Jersey. And that festival supports the brewer’s guilds in those two states, so people should be on the lookout for that beer festival as well.
In full disclosure, Dogfish Head is owned by a close family member of the owner of WBOC.