Brewbound Podcast: Vitamin Sea’s Dino Funari on Staying Humble Through the Hype

Dino Funari may be Vitamin Sea Brewing Company’s harshest critic.

Funari — who co-founded the brewery in February 2019 with Peter Kiley, Joshua Sherman, and Richard DiBona in Weymouth, Massachusetts — knows there’s always room to improve, and he’s still searching for that batch of beer that he loves.

The search for better has helped Vitamin Sea stay humble even as accolades have been heaped on the 1-year-old business.

“To us, we’re just doing the same thing that we were doing before — we’re still homebrewing even though we’re not,” Funari told Brewbound editor Justin Kendall during the latest installment of the Brewbound Podcast. “Instead of being in a small basement, we’re in a much larger basement. And instead of 20 to 30 to 50 coming by to try our beer, now there’s 1,000 or 1,500 coming by. It’s still people, it’s the same general concept. And they’re paying for it now.”

Funari likened the lines of people every Saturday — now formed with social distance in mind — to the movie 50 First Dates.

“Every Saturday, it’s a repeat of opening day for us,” he said during the mid-February interview. “It’s just madness. There’s so many people showing up, and there’s a line before we open, and we go through the same process.”

Now, those people are lining up at a social distance in mind due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease, COVID-19. Selling beer-to-go has allowed Vitamin Sea to avoid laying off any of its employees.

In Episode 8 of the Brewbound Podcast’s third season, Funari shares how Vitamin Sea’s growing popularity doesn’t make the company immune to the realities of business, the challenges of balancing time at the brewery with his day job, the goal of maintaining a work-life balance and much more.

‘Being an older guy in this industry at the ripe old age of 48, I do know that quality of life is very important to me,” Funari said. “If I can create a legacy for my family and make this to a point where myself and my partners and the people who work for us can still have quality of life and enjoy their families, I think that’s more important to us than making millions.”

Listen to the latest episode of the Brewbound Podcast above, or find it on popular platforms such as iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and Spotify. New episodes of the Brewbound Podcast are published Thursdays.

Email podcast@brewbound.com with questions, comments or suggestions.

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The Brewbound Podcast features interviews with beer industry executives and entrepreneurs, along with highlights and commentary from the weekly news. New episodes every Thursday.