The SessionThis month’s Session topic is “How it all started for you” – so we decided to go back in the Flying Dog Productions archives and pull out this interview with our Founders and Owners, George Stranahan and Richard McIntyre.

George and Richard originally started Flying Dog as a brewpub in Aspen, CO in 1990.  It was the first brewery in Aspen in over 100 years.  The brewpub was the culmination of a life-long dream for George, who decided he wanted to be in the beer business since his first swig of Budweiser when he was 12 years old.  It was also the realization of a vision George had after a mountain climbing adventure up K2, seven years before, in 1983.  After George and his group finished their expedition, they found themselves in a Pakistani tavern where George found a painting on the wall of a dog bounding through the air.  To George, the dog looked like it was flying.

That “Flying Dog” became the icon of their trip.  George’s take was that this dog could fly because he didn’t know any better and they climbed K2 because they didn’t know any better.  Years later, when it came time to name their brewpub it only made sense to call it “Flying Dog” – they didn’t know how to open and operate a brewpub.  But then again, they didn’t know any better.

[tags]flying dog, the session, may, brewery, craft beer, george stranahan, richard mcintyre[/tags]



Today is Arbor Day, so get outside and plant a tree.  Grad a 6-pack of your favorite Flying Dog style, someone to help dig a hole and make an event of it.  Get them to do the digging and you do the drinking.

Did you know that every state has their own date for Arbor Day?  Click here to see when your state celebrates tree planting day.  And, don’t forget that 6-pack.

[tags]arbor day, flying dog, brewery, craft, beer[/tags]



Fellow members of the People’s Republic of Flying Dog, I bring good tidings. This past weekend, the bi-yearly World Beer Cup was held in San Diego  Just under 3,000 beers from around the world were entered in 91 categories, and Flying Dog Brewery was recognized with two medals:

Gonzo Imperial Porter – Gold Medal, Imperial Stout Category
Old Scratch Amber Lager – Silver Medal, Amber Lager Category

Our Wild Goose Brewery also received a Gold Medal in the English Style IPA category for Wild Goose IPA.

Here’s a picture of our Production Team, Matt Brophy, Bob Malone and Mark Matovich with the awards.  The guy not holding an award is from the Marketing Dept and just trying to take some of the glory.

World Beer Cup Awards

We’re pleased as punch for the recognition, and are honored to win such prestigious awards. We’d also like to thank you, our loyal drinkers, for lapping up Flying Dog ales for the last 18 years. We couldn’t be where we are today without you guys (and gals).

[tags]world beer cup, flying dog, craft brewers conference, awards, gonzo imperial porter, old scratch[/tags]



Drivers beware.  There’s a new dog on the road.

The crew at Sanders Distributing in Taneytown, MD shows off their new Flying Dog delivery truck.

The Sanders Distributing Crew

If you happen to see this truck on the road:

  1. Get out of the way.
  2. Follow it and buy some Flying Dog.

[tags]flying dog, beer, delivery truck, sanders distributing[/tags]



Did you know that we offer a handy Beer Chart on our website that offers a ton of information on our entire “litter of ales”?  It makes for a great companion to our Mixed Pack when you’re trying a variety of different beers.

The beer chart offers the following information on each individual beer:

  • Hop and Specialty Malts
  • Awards
  • Availability
  • Flavor Profile
  • Brewing Process
  • Food Pairings
  • Color
  • IBU
  • ABV

To download, just log on to our website and click on any of the brand profile pages.  Just click on the link near the bottom of the bottle to download the pdf.

IHW Screen Capture

[tags]flying dog, ales, beer, brewery, craft beer, beer information, info[/tags]



One of the things we like about Flying Dog drinkers is that you like to voice your opinion and aren’t afraid to ask questions.  One of the questions that has been raised recently is, “Why does my Flying Dog beer cost more all of the sudden?”

Good question and I’ll try to answer it as best I can.

First, I’d like to first emphasize that although we have some degree of control over our pricing, but some of it depends on the independent distributor’s margin requirements and the retail/tax structure of a given state.  With that being the case, a price increase in one state could translate to $0.50 per case more per sixer, while in another it could be $2, even though we gave similar price increases to all of our distributors.  We structured our price increases to translate to $0.50-$1 more per 6-pack, but distributors and retailers are independent businesses and legally we have no control over their pricing.

OK, now to the meat of the question.  In the past 6 months, the price of malt and hops has increased dramatically worldwide and this is impacting ALL BREWERS GLOBALLY.  Because we, and most other craft brewers use more malt and hops in their beers relative to the bland, mass produced lagers, these prices have had a greater impact on brewers of flavorful beers.  In a nutshell it breaks down like this:


  • Crop failures due to weather conditions in major growing regions in the world (Australia’s 5 year drought, Europe’s rains last Summer) have reduced the supply of available brewing barley.
  • The price of malt has been so low that malting companies have been hesitant to build new plants, thus demand is currently outstripping supply (this is similar to why gas is so expensive in US.  Yes, some of it is the price of crude, but much of it is due to no new refineries having been built in US for last 20 years).
  • Agricultural commodities are going up in general due to global demand and low value of US dollar.
  • Biofuel demand is driving up the price of all grains.
  • Unfortunately, we don’t see this getting better anytime soon as the dollar is going to stay low, emerging nations will continue to adopt the western, grain based diet more and more, malting capacity will take years to be developed and to top it off Australia just had another horrible harvest.


Really, the only reason here is that there has been a global glut for decades, keeping prices so low that farmers have planted other crops or sold their farms.  In the last 20 years global hop acreage planted has fallen 50%, while beer consumption continues to go up. Demand has finally outstripped supply, and this has been exacerbated by crop failures in the last couple of years.  The hop prices should settle down in the next couple of years, although they won’t go back down to levels their previous levels.

Being a craft brewer who uses a large amount of both malt and hops in all of our beers, the price increases have dramatically affected how we manage our business and posed a difficult decision: Change recipes or raise prices?

We chose the latter because we believe in our beer and we believe that even with the recent prices increases, Flying Dog and many other craft beers remain to be a good bargain in the adult beverage industry. When compared to a good bottle of wine on a per ounce basis, the price of our beer is still quite reasonable.

We understand that this is a significant price increase and may not make sense on the surface to the end consumer, but it was a necessary move for us to merely stay in business.  By no means was it a decision driven by greed. Craft brewers need your support now more than ever if you value full
flavored beer.

I hope this has answered some of your questions.  For more information on the rising cost of malt and hops and how it is affecting the craft beer industry, I invite your you to a couple news articles that will give you a 3rd party perspective:

Story from SignOn San Diego

CNN Video

Hops Shortage documented by Fox News

[tags]flying dog, brewery, craft beer, pricing, increases[/tags]



As much as it hurts to say this, I have to acknowledge that Chris Rippe has won the the Flying Dog college basketball pool for the 3rd straight year.  And yes, I write this post before the championship game tip-off tonight.  It doesn’t even matter who wins, Rippe takes first place.

Rippe Thinks He is a BAMF

Congrats, Rippe.  You have demonstrated your roundball knowledge.  Well done, sir.  It doesn’t make up for your spelling skills, but you do know your college basketball.

[tags]chris rippe, flying dog, brewery, beer[/tags]



The SessionAny man who claims he was destined to own a brewery – since his first sip of beer at age 12 – and follows it up by starting a brewery that has grown into a fixture of the craft beer landscape has my respect. A lifelong educator, philanthropist and entrepreneur, George Stranahan built Flying Dog Brewery to reflect a culture and product that match his own ideals. Beer mixed with art, with a little irreverence thrown in. You’ll never see George speaking at industry seminars or writing books about food and beer pairings. He chooses to sit and enjoy our world class ales on his Woody Creek, Colorado ranch in peace and lets the beer do the talking for him. Check out the video below to get to know George a bit better and learn the origins of Flying Dog Brewery.

Cheers to you George!

[tags]George Stranahan, beer, craft beer, flying dog, The Session, beer people[/tags]



Despite all our shenanigans here at Flying Dog we our proud to boast what we think is one of the most experienced and decorated brew teams in the craft beer industry. We wanted to give a little well deserved credit to the guys who keep us making Good Beer, No Shit. With CEO Eric Warner, Executive Brewer Matt Brophy and Head Brewer Bob Malone in charge of our operations there is little doubt we will continue to reign supreme for years to come. Below is a modest list of only a few of their accomplishments.

– Combined over 40 years of brewing experience, over a dozen Great American Beer Festival medals and 5 World Beer Cup medals.

Eric Warner – Lead Dog
– Graduated from the Technical University of Munich at Weihenstephan in 1990 and today is still one of only a handful of Americans to complete the program.
– Authored a book on German-style wheat beer that was published in 1992.
– In 1993, he co-founded Tabernash Brewing Company in Denver, known for its award-winning German-style beers.
– Joined the Flying Dog team in 1997 starting as the VP of Operations and was quickly promoted to Lead Dog (CEO) in 1999.

Matt Brophy – Executive Brewer
– Started brewing at 17 in high school after hearing Charlie Papazian on “Radio Times” an NPR radio show including winning 2nd place in a homebrew competition (for a Pilsner) before being old enough to drink beer.
– 1997 graduate of the Siebel Institute of Brewing Technology in Chicago, IL
– Head Brewer for Great Divide Brewing Company in Denver, CO
– Head Brewer for Great Northern Tavern in Keystone, CO
– Currently Flying Dog’s Executive Brewer

Bob Malone – Head Brewer
– 1995 graduate of the Siebel Institute of Brewing Technology in Chicago, IL
– 2000 Associate Member of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling
– Head Brewer for Star Brewing Company
– Head Brewer for Echigo Brewing Company
– Head Brewer for Back Country Brewing Company
– Head Brewer for Big Buck Brewing Company
– Head Brewery for Copper Canyon Brewing Company
– Head Brewer for Flying Dog Brewery



Our new Spring Seasonal, Garde Dog is getting some great reviews from our fellow beer bloggers. Here are some of our favorites so far:

One of the comments we’re hearing a lot is that this is a great beer for beer drinkers new to craft beer – not too malty, not too hoppy. So, if you have someone you’re trying to “show the light” of drinking better beer, Garde Dog might be your answer.

[tags]garde dog, beer, craft beer, flying dog, reviews, beer[/tags]

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