Thursday, February 6, 2014

Flying Dog Brew & A with Jim Caruso, CEO of Flying Dog Brewery

For our latest Brew & A we interviewed Jim Caruso, CEO of Flying Dog Brewery out of Frederick, MD.   Jim responded to us in a little under 5 minutes when we asked for an interview, so we were excited for his enthusiasm to talk to us. Considered a local brewery for us in the Washington DC area, Flying Dog has a wide distribution and is making some great quality beers. They just recently celebrated the annual release of their Barrel Aged Gonzo as well as one of the country's first automated growler filling systems. . 

Courtesy of Flying Dog
Courtesy of Flying Dog
Better Beer Authority (BBA):Barrel-Aged Gonzo seems to be one of your biggest and most popular beers. Do you have any plans to barrel age any of your other beers in the future?  
Jim Caruso (FD): BAG is a phenomenal beer and extremely popular, produced in very limited quantities once a year.  Coincidentally, the release of this year’s BAG is today!  No plans for any others at this time.

BBA:The single hop series of your Imperial IPA seems to be a great way to showcase different hop flavors to your customers, what are the next steps in this series?   
FD: For 2014: El Dorado, Amarillo, Citra, and Galaxy.

BBA: When breweries move, it is usually down the street to a bigger location.  Flying Dog moved two times zones away!  How long was the transition to move from a Denver Brewery to be something that Frederick could call their own?  
FD: Flying Dog moved all production to MD in January 2008.  Flying Dog is Maryland’s largest brewery, and with its singular focus on Maryland, Northern Virginia and DC it established itself as the pre-eminent local brewery by 2011.

BBA: Maryland recently allowed breweries to fill their own growlers and you've added Mr. Belvedere to your tasting room. What has the response been so far, and is Mr. Belvedere as charming as he was on TV
FD: Everyone has a crush on him, even the guys!

BBA: You've made a great variety of videos on your YouTube channel. From the Support Local campaign to the incredibly creative beer launch videos like Wildeman and Raging Bitch. How do you feel social media has given the craft beer industry advantages in getting the word out?  
FD: As popular as social media is, especially among Millenials, most studies indicate that it accounts for less than 10% of what builds a brand.  I’d say that’s about the right metric for Flying Dog in particular and the craft industry in general.  It’s all about amazing beer, traditional PR moreso than social media, and a brand that connects with its consumers in ways that matter to those consumers, which for Flying Dog has a lot to do with music, the Gonzo spirit, film, and myriad local events.

BBA: Since your distribution to Europe, have you been able to get any true feedback about how American craft beers are accepted across the pond?  
FD: Europeans are loving American-style craft beers whether imported or brewed locally in Europe.  The top craft countries are Sweden, the UK, and the Netherlands. 

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