Beer Wars Movie

On April 17, 2009, in Brew Pubs, Craft Beer, Family and Friends, Food, by Mark Ranes
After Beer Wars...

After Beer Wars...

Last night a few of the Central Valley Brewers Guild folks and I went to Merced to see the movie event, Beer Wars. There were a total of 10 people in the audience for the movie, and from what I’ve read, this was pretty typical of the theaters across America. Some theaters experienced technical issues with the viewing, but our theater did a decent job of making it all happen.  I think what I took away from the movie was the absurdity of the three tier system of beer distribution in America. There are breweries, distributors and retailers. Basically, while the brewery may want to get their ale in my hands, ultimately, it is the middle man – the distributor – who controls what I will find on tap at an ale house or a retail outlet like my bottle shop or even BevMo. The distributors usually have relationships with one of the big three breweries (AB, SAB Miller/Coors), and so push the products their “parent” wants them to sell – not necessarily what the consumer wants. It a sad state.

The movie itself was interesting, but I had some gripes with it.  They seem to have chosen an questionable story line to follow with Rhonda Kallman’s Moon Shot.  It’s a caffeinated beer – focused at those folks who want to be wired and drunk at the same time.  I just can’t put this stuff into the category of craft beer.  I understand how it fits in with the theme of the movie, but then I was very confused with her efforts to sell out to the the Big Three.  She’s not about craft beer – she’s about marketing.  Hell, even her old partner Jim Koch, turned her down for financial assistance.  Sadly, much – too much – of the movie was showing her efforts to get her foot in the door at the ale house level.  I’d have liked to see the movie focus more on a couple other craft brewers than her.  Even with all this in mind, I found it uncomfortable seeing the Alstrom Brothers slam her efforts on a live stage event after the movie.  It was unnecessary.

It was still fun to see some of my beer heroes up on the big screen.  Charlie Papazian, Sam Caglione, Greg Koch, Jim Koch made the film.

My Tri-Tip Sandwich and fresh chips

My Tri-Tip Sandwich and fresh chips

We started the evening at Bubba’s Big Bad BBQ in Merced.  I had a Tri-Tip sandwich with a couple Union Jack IPAs.  The food was wondeful and Firestone never fails to please.  We’re heading back here tonight for a brewery tour of Rascal Creek Brewing, where our buddy Don Oliver is currently brewing their ales.  We’re looking forwad to getting the back story on this from Don:)  We’ll have dinner and ales again.

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