Today marks the 3-year anniversary of Beer Wars Live – the one night only event that premiered the film in 450 theatres across the U.S.
I still get asked about a follow up film or a sequel. I don’t think that folks understand what it takes to produce and distribute a feature film. Just because everyone has a digital camera these days doesn’t mean that they’re making a feature-length movie. That millions of people will see. And so, if you haven’t realized from my tone, there will not be another film. It takes too long. Costs too much. And in the end, viewers want content for free. So, for me the economics just don’t add up.
I had a story to tell. I told it in the best way I knew how. It’s a documentary so you can’t just make shit up and manipulate the facts. I got criticized for my choice of protagonists – Sam and Rhonda. Sam was too likeable; Rhonda wasn’t a real brewer… But I continue to stand by my choices.
Like him or not, Sam is a star. Not because of his looks but because his passion and skill helped him not only grow his business, get a TV show but also give back to his community by becoming Chair of the Brewers Association board of directors.
And Rhonda? Well, in hindsight Moonshot may have been an ill-conceived idea but she is a classic entrepreneur. She took her big success at Boston Beer and did the one thing most people are afraid to do – she tried something new. And she failed. And I bet you that we haven’t heard the last from Rhonda.
Feature films tell big stories. About big personalities. In the 3 years since the film was released, hundreds of web shows about beer and brewing have appeared. Something for everyone. But they mostly talk about the beer (which I’m allergic to). I wanted to focus on the business and show how it impacts 2 different entrepreneurial dreams.
But what about the business? I mean, there are over 2,000 breweries in the US. Craft beer is “hot.” It’s in the mainstream media. Celebrities drink it. There are beer blogs and apps galore.
But has the business really changed? Well, the big 2 are still the big 2 with close to 80% share of the market. The imports are hanging in there and yes, there is more craft beer being sold. But it’s off a small base.
Have things improved for craft brewers? Yes, especially for the national and regional brewers who are on an expansion frenzy. Is there still a long way to go in changing the “system?” You betcha!
I think that’s the sequel and another filmmaker should pick up the baton from here.