Since the founding of Flying Dog Brewery more than twenty years ago in 1990, the brewing company has gained considerable success and renown through an array of excellent craft beers married to very bold and iconic branding. They’ve been in hot water with the authorities over their slogan “Good Beer, No Shit” first seen on Road Dog Porter (they finally secured the right to use the slogan after a legal battle—they had used “Good Beer, No Censorship” in the meantime), and saw their Raging Bitch twentieth anniversary beer run afoul of certain states’ label approval boards due to the name and label art, effectively banning the beer in those states (Flying Dog is fighting). But this attitude embodies their uncompromising “Gonzo” spirit, which we’re pleased to say they bring to the crafting of their beers, as well.
Founder George Stranahan is as interesting a character as the canine-themed characters on the Flying Dog labels. Heir to a huge fortune from the Champion spark plug company, he rejected the elitist, stuffy attitude often seen among the super rich, choosing instead to pursue a PhD in Physics. In 1959 he proposed what has become the Aspen Center for Physics, and in succeeding decades he’s been a cattle rancher, friend of Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman (who paints all the F.D. labels), barkeep & cook, brewery owner, and whiskey distiller. When he started the Flying Dog Brewpub in Aspen, CO, in 1991 it was the first brewing operation to open there in more than a century.
Certainly Stranahan’s can-do attitude has greatly contributed to the success of the brewery. In 2006, they bought the Wild Goose Brewery in Frederick, MD to use as a brewery for their growing demand on the East Coast. Eventually, they decided to bring all of their brewing operations to that location, closing their original brewery in CO. Now, limited amounts of their brews are flying all the way to Europe to quench their thirst for American craft beer—as they say, irreverently as always, “we are taking this bitch international!”
For more information about the brewery and scheduled tours, call (301) 694-7899 or check out their web site at www.flyingdogales.com