Apr
16
1

Time flies when…

Today is the one-year anniversary of Beer Wars Live! A year ago, a distinguished panel including Charlie Papazian, Sam Calagione, Greg Koch, Ronda Kallman, Todd Alstrom and Maureen Ogle convened together with an audience of 800 at Royce Hall on the UCLA Campus in Los Angeles to broadcast the film and panel discussion live via satellite to 440 theatres nationwide.

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It was a magical experience that we will never forget. It was a full-scale theatrical production (on the same stage as Yo-Yo Ma, Los Lobos an Arlo Guthrie perform) with tons of high tech electronics including 5 HD cameras and satellite trucks. For me, it was the culmination of a 3-year journey to make a feature film depicting not only the U.S. beer industry but also the American entrepreneurial spirit.

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The journey to get the film seen has been fraught with challenges. They say that “it’s all in the timing” and for independent films, these are the worst of times. Not only is there a glut of finished films (including some with big name stars) sitting on the shelf but also the traditional distribution model has all but disappeared. And the media world has been transformed due to the influence of bloggers and social media. What this means is that the fight to get noticed for an indie film goes beyond distribution (and Beer Wars is a success story in that realm) to finding new ways to reach an audience. Fewer film critics, fewer newspapers and magazines mean less opportunity for mainstream reviews. Shrinking ad sales mean there’s no chance that a network would risk offending a major advertiser. You get the point.

So yes, it’s been a rough ride. But for all the downs, there have been many ups. I’ve met some amazing people on this roller coaster ride. And I’m grateful for the kindness of complete strangers I’ve met at screenings, bars, and festivals and through Twitter and Facebook. I wanted to start a conversation. I wanted to get people to think about the choices they make. And I love hearing that indeed the film appears to have made a difference. Small perhaps (because most Americans have no awareness of the film) but it’s a start.

I’m hoping that the conversation will continue and that it will involve brewers, distributors, retailers and regulators who will strive to create a more level playing field for beer consumers.

So I raise a (virtual) beer to everyone who has joined me on this amazing journey.

Thank you!

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One Response to “Time flies when…”

  1. Will Moore says:

    I really enjoyed the movie. I Have never been a big fan of, bud, coors or miller. It was nice to see even the loyal beer drinkers couldn’t blindly identify their beer brand, because they all taste the same. The ads are the same, with stupidity like “easy drinking taste, and “drinkability”. I manage a small restaurant in Scottsdale AZ. (Blu Burger Grille), where we have 12 craft micro-brews on tap and more by the bottle, and nothing bothers me more than when someone skips past that and wants a bud light. It was interesting to see how store displays and other aspects of the beer industry that the average person doesn’t get to see or even know about effect “the little guy.” i’ll pay more for a 4 pack of dogfish than a 100 case of bud any day, because its all about quality over quantity in my eyes. Tell your friends to keep on brewing the good stuff because there are people like me who can’t get enough of it.
    Thanks for making the movie.

    Cheers,
    William Moore

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