The movie is fairly well done for a documentary. The information flowsrather well and the points they bring up are interesting enough asidefrom the fairly touchy section towards the middle. You will quicklyfind out though that this is simply a long piece of bashing towards themajor beer companies. Try to keep in mind that the major companies arenow the top of the industry for a reason. Its easy to say that itsbecause of their advertising but keep in mind that they didn't startout of the gate with million dollar advertising campaigns. Its finethat these brewers feel that they are adding something to the industry,but that doesn't mean that the companies that have done well are takingaway. After all if one of these small brewers achieved incrediblesuccess, they would perform exactly as bush or miller have. They wouldpromote their brand and try to maximize sales. Its kind of the idea ofbusiness. Alright documentary, but keep an eye on the massive bias whenwatching it and the small brewers end up coming off as rather arrogant.User: MeatGravy
As a homebrewer for 20+ years, and big movie fan, it's hard to expresshow excited I was for Beer Wars and how immensely letdown I was. Abumbling bitter tragedy of execution.
There is such an exciting and amazing story left to be told about theburgeoning culture of craft beer, particularly on the US West Coast.What a missed opportunity a complete "whiff" as far as I'm concerned.
She chose to create a self-focused resume (a Dog Fish love letter) withthe journalistic integrity and perspective of a weasel an East Coastweasel an East Coast whiny Liberal weasel. It's hard to imaginesomeone doing less with such a bountiful wide-open subject. Not to puttoo fine a point on it, but I actually despise that woman for herdisservice to the craft of beer making.
The irony is that every bumbling lunge at the beer industry big 3 ismatched shot for shot with envy and jealousy by the groveling newplayers who want nothing less. The movie is not about beer: it's aboutthe pangs of capitalism. The subject could just as easily have been"Shampoo Wars".
When talking about movies I loath the term "compelling" (which shouldwholly be reserved for pornos), but this movie is actuallyanti-compelling a turn-off a dud damaged goods return toseller. Like a pallet of skunked Sierra Nevada sitting out in the heatby an ignorant and incompetent store manager.
As a blogger pointed out elsewhere: "The one part of the movie thatreally shows Rhonda as a marketer and not a brewer or lover of beer waswhen she met with the venture capitalists to get financing. She showedup with a six-pack of Moonshot and gave her pitch based on themarketability of a caffeinated beer. She then leaves the meeting withALL 6 BOTTLES IN THE SIX PACK! What real brewer and aficionado of beerwould try to sell his product without having the potential investorsactually taste the beer? This shows me she is all about marketing anddoes not have a passion for beer and brewing that real craft brewerslike Sam have." -Mike Graham
This documentary follows along with Dogfish Head brewery as they areexpanding, and the creator of Moonshot beer (beer with caffeine) as sheattempts to make her beer successful. This documentary is very onesided, glorifying the little guys and bashing the giants, mostlyAnheuser-Busch. The main message seems to be that large corporationshave a strong hold on the beer industry, leaving little room formicrobreweries have much success.
Even though this movie is very biased and the director/narrator AnatBaron is very obnoxious and gets quite annoying throughout the film, itis still enjoyable to see this insider look at the beer industry.Overall, its interesting, fairly enjoyable to watch, and worth checkingout, but it could have been a lot better.
Overall a good movie. I was hoping for a bit more on differentmicro-brew's, they only focused on a few. The ones they did focus onthey did a good job showing their disadvantage.
As a libertarian I have to disagree with the prevailing opinion of themovie. Big Beer isn't evil their competitive. They use their power toleverage government to make it hard for the little guys to compete.With out the government rules I would have Magic Hat in Las Vegas!!!They did show how prohibition killed most of the craft beers.
Worth the time to give it a watch. It does a good job showing how hardit is to get a craft beer off the ground. It does a bad job showing youall the breweries around the country and what they have to offer. Oncea micro brew makes it big, their no longer a micro brew.
"Beer Wars" is by-and-large stylishly done, it is largely entertaining,and it makes its subject an interesting one. Part of its trouble,though, is that it doesn't seem to know exactly what its subject is,beyond the fact that it has to do with beer. The film vacillates as itproceeds between being a series of profiles of small brewery owners, ahistory of the beer industry in America, a travelogue of the director'strip to various beer-related corporate events, and a screed against themodern business of brewing and Anheuser-Busch in particular.
The one element that seems to unite everything is that is seems to betrying very hard to get across the message that "the beer industryoperates as a business," which was quite obvious to me before I startedwatching "Beer Wars." There is little attempt to hide a bias againstAnheuser-Busch, Miller, and Coors and towards small breweries, but thisblack-and-white view of the subject becomes tiring and does not seemvery thoughtful. Big-beer executives are interviewed in long shot toshow their opulent boardrooms, small beer businesspeople are shown withinspiring music at home with their cute children.
What's missing is the fact that both large and small breweries arebusinesses -- they both want to make money and they both want to makebeer. Putting everything in such simple terms does a disservice to thesubjects. I usually like the beer from smaller breweries much better,but that doesn't mean I can't recognize that they are moneymakingoperations as well (or that I can't enjoy a Boddington's because Inbevhas bought a stake).
In addition, director Baron is keen to point out that she comes from aplace of experience in the beer world having run Mike's Hard Lemonade,but that is hardly finely-crafted beer, nor is it beer at all by anydefinition other than that or certain lawmakers. One of the underdogsubjects she decides to follow is trying to market a mixture of beerwith caffeine, which sounds to this viewer like a terrible idea and notthe kind of gourmet beverage that Baron is suggesting Big Beer istrying to quash.
In all, an interesting subject comes through, but the film is far toounfocused within it, and even though I agree with most of its points,it comes off far too stridently partisan for my taste.
Being a self-proclaimed "Beer Snob", I found Beer Wars to be anentertaining documentary, yet as other reviewers have noted, it ispretty clear that the film maker, Anat Baron, had an agenda againstAnheuser-Busch (and to a lesser extent, the other two big brewers,Millers and Coors). Don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of Anheuser-Buschand don't buy any of their products, but their portrayal in the filmcame off as a bit too mean spirited in my book.
The thing is, it didn't need to be. It could have just presented thefacts and that alone would have shown what a crazy monopolyAnheuser-Busch has. Things like the law suit they slapped on DogfishHead for their Punkin' Spice and Chickory Stout beer names goes a logway to show how these people do business. That spoke for itself. Butcertain segments, like when they show employees from Millers and Coorsdoing nice extra-curricular activities and enjoying a beer after workwith their co-workers, and then Anat saying that she didn't see any ofthat "comradery" at Anheuser-Busch, was a bit too much of a blanketassumption on her part, given she was probably just given a small tourof their headquarter brewery. If it was an Anheuser-Busch employeemaking that statement, that would be different, but it wasn't. It wasjust the film-maker's assumption after one visit to the brewery.
The film does educate on certain aspects of the industry which are not"common knowledge" and those segments are very entertaining. Thingssuch as how beer is displayed in a supermarket and how much influencethe "big 3" have in deciding the layout, is surprising. So was the 3Tier system segment, covering how beer gets from the brewer to theconsumer and having to go through distributors.
My favorite parts of the film were whenever it would follow SamCalagione from Dogfish Head or Jim Koch from Samuel Adams. Being a bigfan of both those breweries it was a great "behind-the-scenes" look athow they work and what it took to get to where they are now. I canwatch a documentary just on Dogfish Head alone. Very good stuff.
And then there were some segments which seemed to be just forfluff/show. Like the blind taste test of Coors Light, Bud Light andMiller Lite. Initially, this seems like a good test to show that mostpeople can't tell those apart, but I am not too sure what she wastrying to prove. All those beers are of the same style. American LightLagers. Of course they are supposed to taste similar. If you put threedelicious IPA's in front of me, I'm not sure I'll be able tosuccessfully tell you which is which brand, since their flavorcharacteristics are so similar. Same with three Stouts, 3 differentbrand of vodka, etc. Overall I did enjoy the film, as it had plenty ofinformative parts, but it could have benefited from not taking the lowroad and bashing Anheuser-Busch as much as it did. Like I mentioned, itcould have made its point without the sensationalized parts.
I'm European, and we've got our own share of huge breweries swampingthe market with tasteless pils. But it's not as bad as it is in the US.
The point is, there is NOTHING about the issue to pretend to beobjective. There's beer, and there's that dishwater those hugebreweries are trying to sell you as beer.
Of course the huge breweries are successful. But success in the marketdoes not mean a better product. McDonalds, Microsoft and Britney Spearsall prove the same point: Given good enough marketing, a bit oflobbying and market leverage, you can sell trash.
And of course, the bigger your market share gets, the lower theexpectations need to be. Lowest common denominator. And they're not theleast innovative; but if they're realizing someone else put a productout there the people like, they try to occupy that niche as well; ifthey can. That Anheuser-Busch is now producing beer (sometimes notunder their own brand) which even might qualify as beer, is onlybecause they've got competition who started it. Without the competitionof those small breweries, there would be only Bud Light, Coors Lightand Millers Light -- which of course taste all alike. The new sovjetplanned economy: You can choose between three products now, but they'reall the same.
I think some people here commenting on IMDb about "Bias" are actuallyastroturfing for some of those three huge breweries. Either that, orthey genuinely don't know how good beer tastes.
This documentary changed my views as to how my family and I shouldspend our money on beer. Avoid Anheuser-Busch because they do what isin their power to stop these small time brewers like Dogfish Head. Theycan control how the self's at stores are stocked; they bring lawsuitsagainst brewers that are struggling to survive. As soon as a type ofbeer becomes a hot commodity they snatch it up and eliminate all ofthose opposing. I think the documentary did a great job of highlightingthis and definitely changes my position on support certain companies. Iwill not support the following brands do to their affiliation withAnheuser-Busch Company, Rolling Rock, Widmer Bros, Bacardi, Wild Blue,Busch, Bud Light, Budweiser, and Natural Ice. Watch it and I am sureyou will join me.