Beer Wars the movie launched tonight in select cities/theatres across the country. I was lucky enough to get a ticket from Chandra representing New Century Brewing Company, so I decided to go. Chandra, please note that I wouldn’t have gone and blogged this if it weren’t for you, so thanks! Anyhow, I have been following the coming of this film since I found out we are on the blog list… Thanks Beer Wars. 🙂 I was happy to go and even happier that I went after I had a couple of pints over at Black Raven… Saw Doug from Malt & Vine there, met a few other beer lovers in line for some popcorn and soda… it was a very happy crew, you could tell.
About the flick… I think I was the only dork with a notebook in the theatre (there were probably 50 folks there), but I wanted to capture a few things… so bear with me.
Overall, the “live” intro and ending were cool and they made enough mistakes to let us know it wasn’t recorded… 🙂 Most memorable point in the intro was when Anat Baron noted that she “hope it makes you fell something” and someone in the audience yelled out “i like it when you talk dirty.” Everyone laughed and I knew what kind of night it would be.
This led into some additional insights… i.e. “American beer is like making love in a canoe… it is f’ing close to water.” An instant classic. That and the fact that in the early 1900’s there were 1800 breweries in America… by 1978 there were 45… and now there are somewhere north of 1400 and growing quickly. Can you guess the makeup of that? ~50% = Anheuser-Busch, ~18% = Miller, and ~11% = Coors. Pretty sad, folks.
They mentioned a bunch of the “craft” breweries in the film:
But the spent the most time with:
Overall, they painted a pretty bleak picture… both Sam and Rhonda of Dogfish Head and New Century, respectively, have it hard, according to the film… Sam is growing fast and taking risk and going into debt while Rhonda is just trying to make it all work. This pitted against the big beer companies that are trying to maintain their mainstream positions while meeting the craft brew movement in their own macro sort of way.
As the story progressed, it ventured into the political side of the industry… I decided that beer + politics = suck… pretty decent equation. Not going to say much else there.
Then it pretty much ended. It left me feeling a bit sorry for Rhonda… wondering how I can help. What I like about that, though, is if I step back and extrapolate, I can think that there are a ton of Rhonda’s in the beer industry… the small brewers/companies that are just trying to make it. So, while I can’t help Rhonda directly (although Chandra is going to help me try), I can help the craft beer movement in general… and I like to think I am doing that with this blog… and my $$$ of course (yes, I am the perfect demographic).
Overall, I had a few thoughts about what they might have missed… they did an ok live Q&A at the end, but what they were missing and what they may have missed overall was the consumer aspect of it. I would have liked to see a bit more about how consumers feel about the whole thing… i.e. Why do consumers like beer? What draws them to beer? What draws a craft brew drinker to craft brews and what draws the macro beer drinker to the macros? I think they should have had a more average consumer on the panel, for instance… round it out a bit.
I liked the flick. It held my attention for the 2 hours and I learned a few things. It validated the fact that craft brew is the the way forward… for many reasons, and I hope to continue to help the movement in any way I can.
DugPo Rating System©: Will ‘Watch’ Again