"Beer Wars" is an independent movie that I only recently heard about. Through the joys of conversing with my beer cohorts on Twitter, it became clear that this was something I not only wanted, but needed to see. In a nutshell, it explores the United States beer industry, from convenience store to Capitol Hill, and gives huge insights onto just how the few gigantic beer corporations are being challenged by the smaller, independent brewers.
I know this story, and am obviously (given my line of work) a huge fan of the smaller breweries. I most often, unless at a concert and given no other choice, NEVER drink one of the well-known light lager companies--Anheuser-Busch In Bev or Miller Coors. (I'm not defaming those beers, but I don't drink them or enjoy them.) I hear distributors tell stories weekly about the "other guy" who came in to one of the stores and ripped down signage from the competition, but I never realized just how much goes into that shelf space! I love small production lines at larger breweries and even more, love finding a brewery like Jolly Pumpkin (Michigan) that still runs on a 3-barrel system. I'm friends with home brewers, and hold Extreme Beer Fests for my shop.
In the way that I try as hard as I can to eat locally, sustainably, and organically, I feel that beer should be approached similarly. I champion for the little guy who is producing an insanely hoppy and delicious beer that is sold in a 4-pk for $10 WHOLESALE. And this movie only reconfirmed that sensibility.
What was fascinating was learning just how many "beers" the larger companies have acquired over the last decade or so...I, for one, was shocked. For anyone living in the beer community, or someone who just enjoys great craft brew, I highly recommend seeing this. It may not be the best documentary I've ever seen, but man, it was eye opening.
So while you're drinking your Stella, or Corona, or Leffe, make sure to think where that beer is actually coming from. And if you're lucky enough to have a Dogfish Head or a Lagunitas, a Founders or a Stone in your area, visit often and support your local breweries.
**For more information, visit Who Owns What