Dogfish Head on Projects

This post originally appeared December 24, 2010 on

There is a new TV show on the Discovery channel called Brew Masters. It follows the founder of Dogfish Head Brewery as he makes some outrageous brews. When I heard about the show, I figured it would be worth a look, even though I’m not a huge fan of their brews. See, besides blogging here, my other hobby is brewing and vinting. Making beer and wine fits me as a hobby, largely because its a process and as a business analyst, I love just about anything that deals with process.

What I found in the first episode of the show was nothing really related to the brewing of beer, but how much of the company lives its daily life just the way I live my work day… in a project world. This brewery has over 30 specialty brews they make each year, in addition to their regular brews. They spend more time talking about the coordination it takes to create the recipes and put them into production under very tight timelines.

They talk about how they’re going to get all the needed ingredients from their suppliers, just like I spend time wondering how I’m going to get enough resources to full staff a project. They talk about how tight the schedule is with each new brew and the consequences of making a mistake at any step in the process. With 30 different seasonal brews, along with all their year long brews, they spend a lot of time how to keep so many different batches working at the same time.

But the quotes are what get me the most excited. Here are my two favorites from the first episode:
There’s a lot of risk there, but we love risk.
And this one as well:
You want another glass? That’s exactly what we want to hear.
They have a culture where risk is appreciated, especially how great risk can bring about great reward. When their customers keep coming back and wanting more, they’re providing value that can’t be found anywhere else.

So if you have a chance, check out the show and see two of my favorite things together: projects and beer!