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Nov
21
7

A Star is Born: Sam Calagione


This was originally shown at the Alamo Draft House in April 2008 as part of the Dogfish Head Off-Centered Film Festival.

It’s about fucking time. BREW MASTERS starring Sam Calagione starts tonight on Discovery Channel.

I first met Sam at the Great American Beer Festival in September of 2005. I told him then that he was going to be a star. He seemed embarrassed. But it was easy to see from our very first interview that here was a guy who was the real deal and a natural in front of the camera.

I got to know Sam over the 3 years it took to make the film. He allowed my crew into his home, his business, and into his head. I shot over 35 hours of footage with him in multiple locations across the country. And the rule of thumb worked – about one minute per hour made it into the film. There are so many gems that didn’t fit into the bigger story. Someday I hope to open the “vault” and share.

And Sam has been very gracious since the film came out. He showed up on premiere night in Los Angeles to be with a panel of his peers and at film festivals since then to help promote the film.

And yet he gets flak from “beer geeks” for being overexposed. Seriously, it’s time to stop. Yes, he’s a rock star. Celebrate it. He’s the guy Discovery picked to be the face of BREW MASTERS. And since it’s a positive message he’s espousing, he’s having no problem getting media attention. And that can only help craft beer.

I hope the show does well. I hope Discovery gives the wider TV audience a chance to well, discover it. I haven’t seen any episodes yet but since the show’s producers are also behind Anthony Bourdain’s NO RESERVATIONS, I think it’s safe to go in with high expectations.

So break a leg Sam. I hope you remember me when…

Dec
14
9

Over to you…

When I made the film, I ended up with over 180 hours of footage. The film is only 85 minutes long. So… lots of footage is just sitting there waiting (begging) to be seen. And there’s some FABULOUS stuff, especially the interviews and brewery visits with some of the who’s who in beer.

I’m planning to edit some more videos but I need your help. Who do you want more of? Please give me your top 5.

I want to see more of...

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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). Read the rest of this entry »

Apr
24
3

Moving Forward

Apologies if you didn’t get to see Beer Wars Live because of technical issues at your theater. Please send your “sob story” and we’ll send you a special code to purchase a DVD at the discounted rate of $15 (same price as the event) instead of $20.

The DVD, which we are currently rushing into production, will include the film, the panel discussion and the extras shown that evening. I hope that this makes up for any inconvenience you encountered.

PS I’ve been sitting back until after the “reviews” are in before I respond with my thoughts and perspective on the event, the feedback and the future.

Mar
28
14

Blue Moon

While making the film, I was surprised that many of the brands on supermarket and grocery store shelves that appear to be made by small craft brewers actually come from BudMillerCoors. OK, I wasn’t really surprised because I knew how things worked having been in the beer business but the proliferation of “craft style beers” was staggering. How is a consumer supposed to know what’s a “real” craft beer. Is it the type of beer? Or the brewer that matters?

Check out the Blue Moon video extra and decide for yourself.

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Mar
21
1

Inspiration

I’ve been thinking a lot about how entrepreneurs find their passion. So often it’s about finding a hobby and turning it into your life’s work.

Here’s a video of Charlie Papazian who inspired many to begin homebrewing beer. And so many took what they started making in their kitchens and basements into breweries and brewpubs and made it into their careers. Sharing their passion with those who appreciate their creations.

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Mar
12
2

5 Weeks and Counting

I can’t believe that in 5 weeks from today, we’ll be getting ready for the big event. As you can imagine, preparations are well on the way. Excitement is building. I’ll be sharing a lot more in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, here’s another video extra. This one features Kim Jordan, Founder of New Belgium Brewing (makers of Fat Tire). Her company is one of the biggest success stories in the craft beer world.

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Mar
5
1

Inspiration

I’m so excited by the response we’re getting to the site and the event. And all the people who want to help spread the word. Please tell your friends, tell your enemies, tell the world. Beer Wars Live April 16th. Be there.

Here is a new video of Greg Koch from Stone Brewing talking about making it in the ultra competitive beer business. You can see more clips in extras.

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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