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What We Love Most About the Dogfish Head Beer Hotel Might Surprise You

September 3, 2014 at 1:39 PM | by | ()

Back in July, one of the east coast's best craft brewers, Dogfish Head, opened a beer-themed hotel halfway between its brewpub in Rehoboth Beach and production brewery in Milton, DE.

With 16-rooms and a modest, motel-like exterior, the property is not going to turn any heads on its first impression. In fact, you don't really even get a sense of the "beer theme" when looking at photos. The hotel's custom offerings of bottle openers and beer soap don't make a lot of noise.

But, as it goes with beer, you really don't know what you have until you dive in and taste it. Maybe the Dogfish Head Hotel isn't the loudest aesthetically speaking, but we love the way it has chosen to go about its business. And would you believe that the thing we love most is its lack of flair or, in this case, its lack of narcissism? Can you believe that what we respect most about the Dogfish Head Hotel is that it doesn't even serve its own beer?

Think about it: This could have been a massive exercise in ego-mania. There could have been swag everywhere. There could have been beer pouring out of the taps in the rooms. But Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione went a completely different direction, one that places more importance on the aspect of community than it does the individual brand.

In an interview with Conde Nast Traveler, Calagione revealed something that really, honestly, surprised us:

"Our brewery, where you can buy pints, is just eight miles away in Milton, Delaware. And we have a full-scale restaurant and distillery seven miles in the other direction. We also made the decision out of respect for our neighbors in our little hometown of Lewes, where we have a lot of awesome restaurants that serve Dogfish Head beer."

How cool is that? It gets better:

When someone tours our brewery, we get to hang out with them for an hour and turn them onto our beers and let them see how awesome our co-workers are; if they eat dinner at one of our restaurants we get to do that for two hours. Our whole goal with the Inn is to create a place where you get to hang out with our brand for at least 24 hours. And at the same time that we’re celebrating what we do at Dogfish, the hotel is all about celebrating coastal Delaware, which I feel is an area that gets under-recognized in the national media. I feel like every time a major magazine lists the top 50 coolest vacation destinations or small cities or whatever, you never see anything about Delaware. And yet our coastal beaches are as big and wide and white as the Carolinas’, but only three hours from New York City. So for me this hotel is an opportunity for Dogfish to use our niche recognition in the beer world to create greater recognition for our beautiful home area of coastal Delaware.

In a world where many brands take take take, it is refreshing to see an approach that attempts to share the wealth, and to use its own popularity for the betterment of the entire area. That's a mentality we don't see too often in tourism, but one that is certainly welcome and beneficial to all. For that, we can't help but applaud the Dogfish Head Hotel, even if they skimped a little on the decor.

On a broader level, we wonder if this might set the tone for more beer hotels to pop up across the country. Craft brewing is at an all time high, and as breweries look to find ways to rise above the rest, could on-site lodging be a way to spark interest? We've seen it within the wine industry, and as beer production continues to gain momentum, we don't see anything standing in the way.

Rooms at the Dogfish Head Inn start at $250 per night.

[Photos: Facebook]

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