Dogfish Head Names New President and COO

After a year-long search, Dogfish Head has hired marketing veteran George Pastrana as the brewery’s new president and COO.

Pastrana, who will report directly to Dogfish Head co-founder and CEO Sam Calagione, most recently spent six years as the chief marketing officer and VP of marketing and innovation for ACH Food Companies, whose portfolio includes the Mazola, Fleischmann’s Yeast and Argo brands, among others.

Speaking to Brewbound, Calagione said he was impressed by Pastrana’s experience in “growing high-end brands,” as well as his “understanding [of] how to grow collaborative teams.”

“He oversaw a nine-figure spice business in an over billion-dollar conglomerate,” he said. “He has that marketplace understanding, but he is also a great people leader.”

Calagione added that Pastrana would serve as “the leader of our leaders,” noting that the company’s vice presidents would now report to Pastrana, instead of Calagione.

Pastrana will also work with Calagione and wife Mariah, who is a co-owner of the brewery, to author and champion the company’s strategic plans.

“It’s really George who will make sure the VPs and all of our teams have the resources and clear direction necessary to achieve our strategic plan,” Calagione said.

Previously, Nick Benz served as Dogfish Head’s COO and CEO before departing the company at the end of 2016. Over the course of the last year, Calagione said Dogfish Head received nearly 800 applications for the president and COO job and conducted nearly two dozen in-person interviews at the company’s Delaware headquarters.

“That shows how methodical and intentional we were with this important hire,” he said. “What we really tested for was somebody with tremendous super powers when it comes to being both a great leader of people and a collaborative team player. He more than anyone was the perfect mix in that equation.”

Sam Calagione

In a press release, Pastrana added that he was attracted to the “innovative and entrepreneurial” spirit of Dogfish Head.

“Plus, I am a foodie at heart and Dogfish is a food lovers beer,” he said in the release.

Pastrana, who relocated from the Chicago area to Delaware, started at Dogfish Head on Monday and began meeting with the company’s vice presidents to review the 2018 strategic plan.

Pastrana’s hire follows a year in which Dogfish Head’s portfolio-wide sales increased by nearly 20 percent. Last week, the company announced that it would begin selling beer statewide in Louisiana, extending its footprint to 38 states and Washington, D.C.

More details on Pastrana’s hire are included in the press release below.

Dogfish Head Names New President/COO

George Pastrana joins brewery as the ‘leader of Dogfish Head’s off-centered leaders’

Milton, Del., January 9, 2018 – Dogfish Head Craft Brewery is proud to announce that they’ve named George Pastrana as the new President/COO of the company. For twenty-two years, Dogfish Head has explored every corner of the universe for off-centered ingredients and for the last 12 months they’ve circled the globe searching for the perfect off-centered leader and found the ideal complement to the company in Pastrana.

“George has impressed us every step of the way with his integrity, people-first, products-second leadership philosophy, sound experience at high level strategic planning, and his recognition that innovation and brand distinction are at the heart of every successful entrepreneurial company’s raison d’etre,” says Sam Calagione, founder and CEO of Dogfish Head. “These very same priorities have driven me and my co-workers since we opened Dogfish Head as the smallest commercial brewery in the country in 1995. We have come a long way and we are very excited George is now joining us on our journey, as the leader of Dogfish Head’s leaders.”

Pastrana comes to Dogfish by way of ACH Food Companies where he spent six years as Chief Marketing Officer/Vice President of Marketing & Innovation. He holds an MBA in Marketing from Cornell University – Johnson Graduate School of Management and is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he studied Biomedical Engineering. Pastrana brings a passion for growing teams, building brands, nurturing culture and delivering results. “I’m a person who loves the potential of brands and the energy they inspire,” Pastrana shared. “Dogfish is innovative and entrepreneurial and I am looking forward to this opportunity; plus, I am a foodie at heart and Dogfish is a food lovers beer.”

Pastrana relocated from Illinois to coastal Delaware to join the Dogfish family and his position as President/COO is effective immediately. George will be reporting directly to Dogfish Head CEO and co-founder Sam Calagione and Mariah Calagione maintains her position as Executive VP and co-founder. For more information about Dogfish Head Craft Brewery visit


Dogfish Head:

Dogfish Head has proudly been focused on brewing beers with culinary ingredients outside the Reinheitsgebot since the day it opened as the smallest American craft brewery 22 years ago. Dogfish Head has grown into a top-20 craft brewery and has won numerous awards throughout the years including Wine Enthusiast’s 2015 Brewery of the Year and the James Beard Foundation Award for 2017 Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional. It is a 300+ coworker company based in Delaware with Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, an off-centered brewpub and distillery, Chesapeake & Maine, a geographically enamored seafood restaurant, Dogfish Inn, a beer-themed inn on the harbor and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, a production brewery and distillery featuring a tasting room and food truck. Dogfish Head supports the Independent Craft Brewing Seal, the definitive icon for American craft breweries to identify themselves to be independently-owned and carries the torch of transparency, brewing innovation and the freedom of choice originally forged by brewing community pioneers. Dogfish Head currently sells beer in 38 states and Washington D.C. and will expand into additional states in 2018. For more information, visit, Facebook: @dogfishheadbeer, Twitter: @dogfishbeer, and Instagram: dogfishhead.

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