Today is the birthday of filmmaker Anat Baron, whose Beer Wars movie started people writing and talking about the beer business, from all sorts of angles, over ten years ago, and while it’s slowed down, the discussion has yet to have completely gone away. Or as Alan from A Good Beer Blog puts it, “joined to the long-standing discussion about the beer business and added an interesting interpretation.” Love it or loathe it, it has certainly managed to capture people’s attention, and if that’s all it’s done, that’s still a huge positive to my way of thinking. But it’s also opened quite a few minds to what those of us who’ve been embedded in the beer business have known forever, which is how the business operates, where it’s fair and unfair, and what you can do as a consumer to support the beers and breweries you love. Join me in wishing Anat a very happy birthday.
Anat behind the bar.
Publicity photo for Beer Wars.
“….whose Beer Wars movie started people writing and talking about the beer business, from all sorts of angles, last year, and the discussion has yet to let up…”
I am not sure what you mean. Surely you mean that the movie joined to the long standing discussion about the beer business and added an interesting interpretation.
I loved the movie (saw it on initial release, & the discussion after that was piped into the theater in which I saw it) – so kudos & happy b’day to Anat!
However, I have issues about some of the content & participants in the discussion, namely:
1) The ex Sam Adams marketing rep (she was at SA a long time) hyping her caffeinated beer trying to counter the vodka & Red Bull explosion amongst the gay discophiles & dumbass 20-somethings;
2) Charlie Papazian – a relative “nobody” who became an “icon” for homebrewing by latching onto a trend & exploiting it – the homebrew club I belong to never had any use for him or the AHA – he passed out drunk in our hospitality room at the early 90’s AHA convention in Oakland (unfortunately, nobody took a picture for real proof).
3) Jim Koch – his “I brew the best beer in America” TV ads should have been nailed for false advertising – the brews in those days (mid 90’s-mid 00’s) were made to his recipes at contract spots (Iron City, which he now owns, & Weinhard in Oregon) his claim came from the “popular vote” at the GABF in Denver, where the combination of dumbass drinkers & corporate “bribes” certainly affects the vote.
Craft brew is going strong, & word of mouth is a helluva lot cheaper than ads – if the product is worthy & the food’s tolerable @ the brewpub. None of the biggest CA craft brewers have ever spent a dime on mass media ads, whatever ads they do are on their websites or in beer geek print media (Celebrator et alii).
“Old fart” (age 50+) beer geeks like Jay & I know where to go to find good beer – we don’t need mass-media ads. Tech-savvy youngstas who are into beer don’t read much print media – they do word of mouth/search online.
Sam Adams owns the old Hudepohl-Schoening plant in Cincinnati
and the Breinigsville, PA plant that had been owned by Schaefer and then Strohs. I have a hard time understanding what can be bad about a company that has kept two old line breweries open and hundreds employed by brewing quality all malt beers. I think Sam Adams is a gateway beer for the drinkers of mass marketed American corn lager and conventional imports like Heineken and Corona. The overwhelming majority of beer drinkers in the US still
drink budmillercoors and I would much rather see a Boston Lager
in someone’s hand than a Bud Light.
Take Applebees for example. Would they be serving an organic double ipa brewed by a local brewery if Sam Adams didn’t exist? They would probably have Stella take the tap line.
The Professor says
Sure, Jim Koch’s beers were contract brewed back then… but so what???
They were (and still are) excellent beers. The fact that his company is still around and has grown enough to acquire multiple breweries along the way tells me that he did something right.
I think Boston Lager stands up quite well today, worthy of a place right next to _any_ other ‘craft’ product…and I dare say it’s probably better than a few of them.
I’m an ‘old fart’ beer geek too…the very first sixpack I ever purchased for myself (when I was almost of age, back in 1969) was a bock beer. The second sixpack was an IPA. Two years later, I started brewing my own.
For someone who never really developed a taste for “normal” beer, the beer revolution that started in the mid 70’s was nothing short of phenomenal, it seemed heaven sent. But in the end, the simple fact is that good beer is good beer, regardless of who makes it.
I’m pretty much in awe of what Koch managed to accomplish.
Hey, prof – I’m afraid this rare time we’re 180 degrees apart. Smarmy pretentiousness & false/misleading advertising always have turned me off, so I speak with my $$. I despise Martha Stewart for her “smarmy” as well; just as I boycott Sam Adams, I refuse to buy anything that has her name on it. For different reasons, I also boycott Starbucks, & buy Exxon & BP gas only when I have no other choice handy when traveling.
Beer can for Glass says
Well it looks like I am commenting on a thread that is 4 years old, but I have to say that I am happy to have Jim Koch as a spokesman for craft beer. I have met him at a number of beer events (such as Rare Beer Tasting) in Denver, and he tirelessly met with people and promoted craft beer. I don’t drink Sam Adams Lager very often, but it is a great beer to get people into trying more than fizzy yellow light beers.
When it comes to boycotting Exxon & BP, I am on board there! Profits to the billionaires, regardless of the environmental consequences is far worse than claiming to have the best beer in America.
Oh yeah, I enjoyed Beer Wars when it first came out.