May
7
12

Getting the message out

April 16th — 3 weeks ago today — was a big day in my life. After years of hard work (and often losing hope that the film will ever be finished), I watched my movie with an audience of over 800 people in a theater for the first time. And it was amazing to know that it was also watched at the same time by audiences in theaters across the country (yes, except the Pacific time zone, but everything is always tape delayed out here).

There has been such a flurry of activity since then. First, reading all the feedback (the good, the bad and the ugly) and responding to everyone who wrote to me. And then getting a DVD into production to make it up to all the people who didn’t get to see any or part of the event because of technical issues at their theater. And also setting up theatrical screenings in theaters where you can watch the movie and drink beer.

[If you want to see more craft brewers and more of Michael Jackson and Charlie Papazian, that's what DVD extras are for. I will happily put all of the great stuff that didn't make it into the actual film on a DVD so that it can satiate that desire.]

Like the entrepreneurs in my film, I too followed my passion. Maybe it wasn’t to drink beer but it was to tell this story. I put my own money on the line just like them and took a risk.

So where to from here?

Well, I made this film because I wanted to get it out to as many people as possible. I want people to think about the (everyday) choices that they make. And to let them know that they do have power — it’s called the almighty dollar. I never expected to lure BudMillerCoors drinkers away from their favorite cold one but I did hope that craft beer drinkers would help spread the bigger message of the film. And I still believe that will happen if we focus on the big picture.

And of course I will continue to work on getting on TV and radio. That’s still how you reach a mainstream audience. But in the meantime, we have this amazing new tool called social media. Let’s use it to tell the story and get people to think about their choices. I hope you will join my quest.

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12 Responses to “Getting the message out”

  1. Laurie Mann says:

    I enjoyed the movie very much (saw it at the Pittsburgh screening). My only disappointment is that I think the rise of the good beer bar over the last 25 years has helped fuel the microbrew revolution. These two things went hand-in-hand. There was no mention of this at all – not even a nod to Sunset Bar and Grille when you were filming in Boston!

    Good beer bars have been enormously helpful in promoting small beers as it gives the consumer the chance try beers from multiple brewers at the same time.

    We lived in the Boston area in the ’80s and early ’90s, and now we live in the Pittsburgh area. While we didn’t tend to go to bars that often, we always tried to find bars where you could try different beers. That got easier in Massachusetts over the years, and much easier in Pittsburgh since the ’90s. And, since non-smoking laws went into effect, we do go to bars much more often than we used to, since we can now breathe in them. My husband started a Web site back in the mid-’90s called “Beer in Pittsburgh” where he followed the fortunes of the local beer bars and breweries.

    Maybe that can be your next documentary – Beer Wars Two – Raising the Bar.

  2. Anat says:

    Laurie:
    A sequel. I like it. As you can imagine, there were many omissions in the film as I was trying to tell a story as opposed to provide a complete overview of beer in America. I did film in beer bars and while we saw them in the film, they were there as part of the story as opposed to being the story. I do agree that beer bars are critical to the success of craft beer. As you know, most new beers are launched on-premise and then move into stores.
    Anat

  3. Craig Guido says:

    Anat… I like to sequel idea!! anyway… I think that the picture did what it was suppose to do… And I think that some people that are craft beer “fanatics” who said there wasn’t enough..of whatever they thought… didn’t really realize that they are not so much the target audience for the movie… They are already helping out David (the Sam’s and Greg’s of the world) against the Goliath (InBev and the such)…. Anyway… I thought it was great… and can’t wait until I can buy the DVD… How long will I have to wait for the DVD??? And when can I get my Beer Wars Pint Glass!!!???

    Craig

    PS Laurie… I live in Boston.. but spend a lot of time in the Burgh… I think that they are 2 great Beer towns… I go to Fat Head’s (Pittsburgh’s Sunset) anything I am in town!!

  4. Scott Woodcock says:

    I think you did a fabulous job! I loved how it not only addressed beer, but also the problems with politics and the stresses of small business. I would not worry about the few rude comments. I thoroughly enjoyed your film. I hope to see another some day.

  5. Zach Neuman says:

    I missed it! when is the DVD coming out I really want to see this movie

  6. Zach Neuman says:

    I missed it! when is the DVD coming out I would really like to see this movie?

  7. Kris says:

    Also got stuck & haven’t seen it yet…how can I see it now??

  8. Anat says:

    Zach and Kris: Sign up for our newsletter. It’ll be available in a few weeks.

  9. David Deuser says:

    Unfortunately I missed the movie. Is the DVD for sale?
    Sincerely,
    David Deuser
    Binding Brauerei USA

  10. David Deuser says:

    Thank you

  11. Hal O'Brien says:

    Anat, just what was the gross for the event?

    I ask because I think the whole process is fascinating for a direct challenge to the studio system. Imagine, for example, if Brad Pitt and Steven Soderbergh decided to self-finance and then show at 440 screens using Fathom as you did. No studio involved. It would be interesting.

    My usual source for movie money figures, boxofficemojo.com , doesn’t list “Beer Wars” at all. Which is strange.

    Doing a back of the envelope calculation, if there were 440 screens, with 150 attendees, at $15 per ticket, I get… $990,000. Make it 75/screen, and it’s still $495,000.

    That may not sound like much to movie aficionados, but it definitely beats “Zyzzyx Road,” which famously grossed only $30. (Here’s the write-up at Entertainment Weekly: http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20011268,00.html )

    Thanks for your time, consideration, and a fine movie.

  12. Hal O'Brien says:

    Oops. Mind faster than my fingers. When I was talking about Pitt & Soderbergh, I meant in reference to “Moneyball,” which both were involved in but recently had production cancelled. That is, what if they decided to self-finance despite the studio pulling out, and then self-distributing the way you did? The precedent for cutting the studios out as middlemen would be significant.

Oenophiles have SIDEWAYS and BOTTLE SHOCK; now their beer-loving counterparts can claim a film as their own.
- Rotten Tomatoes
A David and Goliath story pitting the country's smallest brewers against the largest.
- CNN
Beer Wars: Brewed in America, is an eye-opening, funny and righteously infuriating documentary by first-time filmmaker Anat Baron. Her film (think of it as Suds: A Love Story) is also a pretty damning indictment of not just the beer industry but contemporary unfettered unregulated capitalism's disturbing excesses.
- Box Office Magazine
In Beer Wars, entrepreneurialism and opportunity go awry when tainted by greed and a thirst for power.
- Los Angeles Times
Beer Wars certainly raises some interesting questions, the most potent of which is, is this what capitalism is meant to be?
- New Times
For those who are keeping the American dream alive, this spirited documentary raises a toast.
- St Louis Post-Dispatch
A trenchant analysis unapologetic in its rebuke of Big Beer, Beer Wars is heartily recommended for patrons already inclined to opt for the local brew at every tap. It will also appeal to patrons interested in craft foods as well as homebrewed beer and wine and others particular about quality.
- Library Journal