Nobody had ever connected the words “flying” and “dog” together...until 1983, when George Stranahan* was itching for an adventure.
This time it would be K2, also known as the “Savage Mountain,” the second highest mountain in the world and one of the most deadly. For every four people who have reached the summit, one has died trying. And it has never been climbed in the winter.
After traveling 8,000 miles from Woody Creek, Colorado, George and his band of 12 “Innocents” set off from Rawalpindi, Pakistan (or “Pindi” as everyone called it) for the summit of K2 with a Sherpa and a mule loaded with provisions.
Ignoring the fear, George and the Innocents trekked across the Baltoro Glacier and the Braldu Gorge. Reinhold Messner, the world’s greatest mountain climber, said the Braldu Gorge was the “most dangerous thing [he] had ever done in his life.” According to George, the largest disaster he and the Innocents faced was that “on day 17 of a 35-day trip, we totally ran out of booze.”
Back in Pindi at the Hotel Flashman, George and the Innocents were triumphant but in a dry state of mind. After getting on the “alcohol list” of this Muslim nation, they settled in to drink their quota. Then, their eyes caught sight of a large painting.
As George describes it, “It was a full-on oil painting of a dog. A beautiful oil painting, big, nice. And the dog was like…well, he had left the ground. Here we were, the March of the Innocents and this ‘Flying Dog,’ and the weirdness of it all. And the combination of the words ‘Flying Dog’ stuck with all of us, but particularly for me. They fit together in some way. I don’t know how it makes sense, but it makes sense.”
In 1990, George founded the Flying Dog Brewpub in Aspen, Colorado. From that brewpub to a full-fledged Denver brewery (co-founded by George and his longtime friend and partner, Richard McIntyre**) in 1994, and then to our current state-of-the-art brewing facility in Frederick, Maryland, Flying Dog continues to make sense.
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