DuClaw Brewing Company
Dave Benfield, the grand poo-bah of DuClaw Brewing Company, began home brewing beer while in college, presumably for the only reason that guys in college do anything: to meet girls. What originally began as a way for Dave and his friends to supply themselves with beer and female admirers, soon evolved into something more.
Upon graduating, Dave accepted a position in his family’s business, but continued to hone his ninja-like brewing skills in secret. Despite his best efforts to brew on the down-low, he couldn’t hide his obsession from his parents: he was always tired, smelled of spent grain, and mumbled incessantly about “carboys” and “original gravities” in his sleep. Instead of staging an intervention, his parents asked if he was thinking about a career change. “Uhhhhh…yep,” he answered hesitantly, and once he convinced his mother to stop crying and his father to untie the noose and climb down from the stool, his golden retriever-like enthusiasm and Steve Jobsian vision won them over.
He had, he told them, a completely original idea – a restaurant with a small brewery inside that served its own original craft brewed beer. He would call it a “brewpub”. A 56k dial-up trip to Alta Vista crushed the “completely original idea” part of his plan, as dozens of craft brewpubs already existed around the country, but Dave was undeterred, as he knew that he could make his brewpub stand out from all of the rest with one simple twist on the already tried and true formula: He was going to make his “cool”.
In 1995, he dove in headfirst and by 1996, DuClaw Brewing Company of Bel Air opened its doors to an unprepared world. Within one year, DuClaw Brewing Company was dubbed “Bel Air’s hippest establishment” by the local newspaper. It was new, it was different, it was fresh, and it stayed true to the central pillar of his mission: It was cool.
Today, Dave and DuClaw Brewing Company Brewmaster Jim Wagner are the masterminds behind our amazing array of craft brewed beers. Through constant innovation and testing of new recipes, combinations and ingredients, the pair have brewed more than 35 unique beers and countless variations and blends. Some are available on tap and in bottles year round, while the others rotate in and out of our lineup depending upon available ingredients, seasonal appropriateness of the style, and what we’re in the mood to drink that week.
Having outgrown our original brewing facility in Bel Air, and our 2nd brewery in Abingdon, MD, DuClaw Brewing Company is now housed in a large, state of the art facility on the outskirts of Ball’mer, dedicated to keeping up with the growing demand for our ever-expanding lineup of beers. The rest of the DuClaw Brewing Company staff, from Creative to Distribution, works together with Dave and Jim from the conception of the name to the branding and product launch, to create a unique image and identity for each and every new beer, with Dave’s original mantra still the only guiding principal: Make it cool.