The founder of Lagunitas Brewing Co. of Petaluma told a group of Sonoma State University business students that if anyone opts to start a craft brewery they should steer clear of the ubiquitous India pale ale.

The beer marketplace is saturated with the extra hoppy brew, and so to build a new successful brewing operation around it would be “Neanderthal thinking,” Tony Magee said Tuesday. “Low-hanging fruit isn’t a business model, it’s just preying on market share that already exists.”

During the online gathering, Magee talked about the business lessons he learned while running the beer enterprise as part of his first act in his official role in the entrepreneur-in-residence program at Sonoma State.

He launched Lagunitas Brewing in 1995, and then he was at the forefront of the IPA, and his success spawned various hoppy offshoots such as Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ wheat ale and the potent Waldo’s Special Ale

Read More