Saturday, April 18, 2009

BEER WARS

So last Thursday was Beer Wars:

A one-night only event in theaters around the US for beer geeks and lovers. There was 1 theater showing it in RI, and about 25-30 people in attendance. Inside our theater was a lovely vendor selling Stone Pale Ales and Brooklyn Lagers. I had a Stone Pale Ale, and it was fine, a little watery, but the joy of drinking a craft beer in a movie theater overpowered any perceived flaw.

The film was good...It was Michael Moore-esque at times, with the director taking many tactics to go after "the man" (primarily the CEO of Budweiser in this case)but it did highlight some unfair business practices by the big 3 (again, namely Bud) especially blatantly stealing other small craft beer's ideas and styles and trying to get Dogfish Head in legal trouble for owning the rights to broad beer style names (ie "Punkin Head" and "Chicory Stout"). As the owner of Dogfish Head pointed out, they are no broader than Bud's creative names such as "Natural Light" but no one is suing them. It was not a perfect film - it spent a ton of time talking to the owner of Dogfish Head (who was totally funny and charming), and a woman who was working hard to promote her beer (a caffinated beer)who was not having much success. It would have been nice if the film had included more brewers and consumers. There was a live panel discussion afterwards, hosted by Ben Stein who seemed very cranky and slightly antagonistic. It was also a super short discussion, so we got to hear from a few people once, and a couple of people twice.

However, a good START to a discussion on the importance of supporting small businesses. And this certainly includes small brewers!

Cheers.
Beer Wars: B+

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