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Beer Wars 2009 PG CC

4.0 out of 5 stars (18) IMDb 6.9/10

An irreverent and eye-opening journey through the underbelly of the American beer industry pitting the country's smallest brewers against the largest in a classic David and Goliath battle.

Starring:
Norman Adami, Anat Baron
Runtime:
1 hour, 29 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Documentary
Director Anat Baron
Starring Norman Adami, Anat Baron
Supporting actors Roberta Baskin, Jeff Becker, Simon Bergson, John Boehner, John Bryant, Betty Buck, August Busch III, August Busch IV, August Busch Jr., Sam Calagione, Peter A. DeFazio, George Hacker, Steve Hoch, Kim Jordan, Rhonda Kallman, Greg Koch, Jim Koch, Bob Lachky
Studio Gravitas Ventures LLC
MPAA rating PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Connie TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 13, 2011
Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
There is a lot that I already knew about the major breweries holding a monopoly of the beer that's sold across the country. Just talk to any experienced bartender, bar owner or liquor store manager and they will tell you pretty much the same thing this documentary did: Anheuser-Busch and Miller control who sells what beers and where they are displayed in stores. A-B and Miller control 70% of the beer market and the smaller and better craft brewers are struggling.

So to gain the other 30 percent of the market, marketers for A-B try to buy up the smaller brewers, such as Rolling Rock. As one brewer said, they buy up the smaller companies not so much for the beer, but for the brand recognition.

A few brands featured are Dogfish Beer and Yuengling, all eastern beers, but the story is pretty much the same across the country. When Congress allowed craft beers to be sold in the late 1980s, that is when A-B, Miller and Coors started paying attention to the growing microbrewers that were springing up across the country. The Big Three were all about cheap beer with cheap adjuncts (a fine word for fillers such as rice and corn) whereas the finer craftbeers are more about real beer made the old-fashioned way with pure ingredients. This documentary featured one segment where several beer drinkers would mention their favorite beers but then couldn't tell one brand apart from the other during a taste test. People drink the national brands not for taste but out of habit.

Although I could say that this documentary could go into more detail about the wars between the Big Two and the smaller brewers and less about the woman beer entrepeneur, the point is made.
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I watched this movie to write an essay for a class about beer. It is an interesting look at the conflict between established mega breweries and small microbreweries. It explores the struggles small brewers face and how large breweries are trying to suppress these small brewers using archaic legislation, distribution, and established influence. While I feel that it can be slightly biased against big breweries at times, it gives an overall good impression of the state of the industry.

The film mainly focuses on Sam Calagione, the founder of Dogfish Head Brewery, and Rhonda Kallman, a woman trying to market a new type of beer and establish her company. There are other stories throughout the movie, but these two are the main focus.

I would suggest this movie to anyone interested in craft beer and the beer industry as a whole. It's very interesting to learn about what some of your favorite craft breweries have to face in the current beer market. It's impressive to see that despite the challenges they must face, the craft beer industry is continuing to grow and thrive.
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If you can get over the voice of the narrator, this is an interesting look at some if the history and current dynamics of the beer industry. Not sure if anyone who doesn't really like beer would enjoy this movie, but I did.
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If you like beer and want to know more about the current status of craft beer (small guy) vs the industrial beer (big guy) you should watch this piece. It give great insight into what its like to be in the business and what you should know as a consumer. Some of the people they follow are certainly passionate but perhaps not practical. But then where do you draw the line with your dream. Good file, worth watching and knowing.
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Very informative and highly interesting. Makes me only want to support micro brewers from now on. Look what they did to Rolling Rock's people. Terrible!!
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This is a must watch for craft beer drinkers, and even more important for those who think bud light is good enough. The documentary is full of information on how the beer market got to be what it is today, and exactly how much power the big brewers have. It also sheds some light on the daily operations of a craft brewery. Good stuff!
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Great Documentary that really makes you think of whether we should be drinking Coors, Miller, or Budweiser. I watched this over a year ago and haven't had anything except craft beer since.
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Beer Wars is one of those documentaries where you really need to consider the source: an individual who openly explains that she bailed out of corporate America because she didn't like the politics and competition decides to make a documentary about one of the most political and competitive industries in the world. Furthermore, she chooses an industry based on recreational alcohol consumption when she claims to be "allergic" to alcohol and personally avoids alcoholic beverages. (You have to wonder why she even includes these personal facts as they don't really help her credibility.) Finally, she made a film about the American beer industry, especially the fine art of microbrews and craft brews, when she also refers to Mike's Hard Lemonade as "beer" (Mike's Hard Lemonade is a little malt liquor and a lot of flavoring syrup, like a soda pop with a little kick - it's really a stretch to put that in the same category as a traditional beer). In watching the documentary, you can quickly pick up on how the filmmaker's personal feelings have had a disproportionately large impact on the documentary's message.

What exactly should we expect from a documentary on the beer industry made by this particular filmmaker? Not much. Happily, we get a bit more than that from Beer Wars, but you have to pay attention to see the actual substance.

The film's quirky approach is a little distracting as Anat Baron, the narrator and filmmaker, tries hard to make us feel sorry for some small time brewers, especially Dogfish Head and Moonshot. It's hard to feel sorry for Dogfish Head: they started from nothing in 1995 and were doing $28M in revenue by 2009. In 2012, they shipped 171,000 bbls and recently completed a $52 Million expansion.
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