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Beer Wars: Sometimes revealing but underachieving

Saw “Beer Wars Live” in San Antonio last with plans to provide at least a few comments when I got home.

But it was an evening that resulted in a variety of discussions about beer, and not a whole lot about the movie, and went rather late. I counted about 80 people in the theater, and this clearly was the location members of the local beer community chose to meet. Many were at Flying Saucer before the movie and/or Freetail Brewing (nice beers) after the movie. The movie clearly spoke to them. My sense is that if it is going to start new conversations that will happen when those not so connected with beer see the DVD.

Otherwise, before we aim our RV for and slip happily off the grid at Big Bend National Park a few quick thoughts.

My one-world review: Underachieving.

What you should read: Alan has done a brilliant job of capturing (ongoing) online coverage, including from Twitter. Surely the images will be clearer when this comes out on DVD.

Why, why, why? I liked having Ben Stein there. In part because he was generous enough to let Greg Koch, Charlie Papazian and Maureen Ogle be the smart ones. Maybe more so because he doesn’t get it.

If you embrace the notion that it’s the “American Way” to create a product that sells to the most people and makes you the most money then somebody like Bob Sylvester makes no sense to you. So Stein didn’t seem to understand Koch or Sam Calagione when they said that what makes their beer different is “intent” (Koch’s word). Or perhaps to believe their No. 1 goal is not to have their individual breweries grow as big as possible. (Is that a double negative?)

Maureen certainly seemed to echo Stein’s skepticism when she told them, “Get back to me in 10 years” (best I can read my notes scribbled in the dark).

But I’d suggest you go back and read her thoughts on the “Age of E-Quarious,” particularly parts three and four.

The reason the movie resonated with the crowd I watched it with is that they understand what Koch, Calagione, the guys at Freetail, etc. are about. I wish “Beer Wars” did a better job explaining that to the non-beer-obsessed who end up seeing it.

4 Responses to Beer Wars: Sometimes revealing but underachieving

  1. Amy April 17, 2009 at 11:15 am #

    There were about 40 in my theater in Massachusetts. For the most part I thought she was preaching to the converted. Did people like Anat being such a big part of the movie? That made it similar to Michael Moore movies or Borat but with less effect. I don’t think the three tier system was enacted to keep people away from alcohol but to prevent brewers from owning saloons. If it was disbanded and direct retail marketing was allowed, small brewers could certainly sell their beer on the Internet but ABI and Miller-Coors could franchise bars like McDonalds.

  2. Stan Hieronymus April 17, 2009 at 3:58 pm #

    Another view worth looking at, from Daniel Bradford.

  3. Chris April 19, 2009 at 9:06 pm #

    29 people in Monterey, CA. If the movie was half as good as the post showing debate, it would have been worth 15 bucks. We actually paid $2 each after complaining about the technical difficulties.


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