And In This Corner: The Anti-Beer Wars Contingent

Rant from frustrated beer person, worth reading, if only to get a handle on the misperceptions about the film “Beer Wars” (because, among other things, the film isn’t aimed at the small percentage of people who are into craft beer/homebrewing). (Just as my book Ambitious Brew wasn’t “aimed” at beer people; it was written for a general audience.)

As I’ve said here before, if you view yourself as being on the side of the “little guy,” then support Anat’s work by seeing her film. (And since it is an indie film, without any studio backing, it’s incredibly hard to get the word out. Some may be sick of the press releases, but my guess is that the vast majority of non-beer-geek Americans still, alas, don’t know about the film.)

And if you want to see an interesting documentary, then, hey!, here’s your chance. Meantime, I think I’ll ponder the nature of insularity/blinders that prevent “groups” from seeing the big picture. (No pun intended.)

6 thoughts on “And In This Corner: The Anti-Beer Wars Contingent

  1. I am not “Anti-Beer Wars.” I am pro-good beer. And I prefer to support the “little guy” if the product appeals to me and is of high quality. But I am not in favor of supporting independent just for the sake of supporting independent. Unfortunately in the case of a limited release film, it is tough to decide whether I actually want to pay $15 to see it.On a side note, more beer geeks need to read Ambitious Brew. It would help them with gaining some perspective in the industry’s history.

  2. Well, I’d say you’ve got a good stance: eg, thinking before jumping for the sake of jumping.And I guess if you’ve read the book, you know that my stance is definitely that of the outsider, so that’s how I see all of this as well.Worth noting that back c. 1990 or so, there was a ton of bad “craft” beer out there as people jumped on the bandwagon. Plus, of course, there have long been awful imports that people persist in drinking just because they’re imports… Go figure.

  3. I’m not anti-Beer Wars, either, but neither am I really crazy about it, mainly for some of the points that the Mad Fermentationist brings up in his post, but that’s not an argument worth getting into. None of us have seen the movie yet, so it’s impossible to debate content and message.I did want to comment on your point about audience:The problem is that intended audience and actual audience vary. You may not have intended Ambitious Brew for a beer-geek audience, but that is the audience that is most likely going to pick up your book first (also, history buffs!). We’re the ones that are going to recommend it to the general public (and I have). Similarly, this film might be intended for the general public, but it is being marketed (rather aggressively, IMO) to the beer-geek crowd. Not saying that’s a bad thing, but I think that it certainly is why it is being met with some criticism and even a little knee-jerk reactionism: because we’re familiar with the topics and companies and personalities involved. The general public might eat it up, but it has to get to them through the rough crucible of the informed crowd, first. I’m not saying it’s right, or it’s what should happen, but I think it’s why you’re seeing so much grumbling about it. It’s a shame it’s only one night, because I bet you’d get a lot more general public on a repeat showing. I think you’re right. I think the vast majority of regular Americans will have no idea it’s happening or, if they do know that it is, why they should go watch it. I do agree with Tim up there, too: More beer geeks do need to read Ambitious Brew. To know our history is to give us something to grow upon.

  4. Happily for me, Ambitious Brew reached a much larger audience than the beer folks (otherwise in eyes of publisher would have been total flop!)As for the marketing: the beer folks, such as yourselves, are seeing the beer-aimed marketing. Believe me, there’s plenty of non-beer marketing going on. It’s just that beer-geek crowd is so small, that it (the marketing) keeps showing up over and over again (or what feels like it) because the beer-geek group is, well, small: if you’re hooked into one outlet (eg, BeerAdvocate.com) you’re probably hooked into the other (eg, Beertown, rsBEERs, or whatever).These one-night films/theater events are becoming increasingly common, by the way. It’s incredibly hard for non-studio-backed films to get any kind of distribution deal now, so many documentaries are going this route. Anyway, am delighted all of you stopped by to comment. Truly: I’m NOT a “big name” in the beer biz or anywhere else (sadly), so am happy to have anyone stop by the blog… So thanks!

  5. As another independent content producer, I have to make one point. If you don’t want to pay $15 to see the movie (and live discussion afterwards), I hope you’re not waiting to download a pirated version of the movie somewhere else. I’m not going to see the theater showing, because the nearest theater is about two hours away from me. However, I will put it on my Netflix list when it’s available. Just as I am willing to pay a higher price for great beers from independent brewers, I’m willing to go through the proper and legitimate channels to support content from independent producers.Stepping down from the soapbox, now.(And Maureen already knows I love her and her book.) 🙂

  6. First of all, I’m pro Beer Wars. But I really have to second what Erik said. If the intended audience is the general population, then the marketing should be directed at the general population. I might have never heard about this film if I wasn’t tuned-in to the beer geek community. I listen to NPR all the time, and I haven’t heard any commentary there, which would be a great place to capture an audience outside the beer geeks (no, I don’t watch Fox & Friends).From a marketing perspective, I understand that you have to have a small base that champions your product (whether they’re your intended audience or not). But just as important, you need to expose your product to as many eyes/ears as possible outside of this small group. So when I ask my buddy to go see this obscure documentary, he might say, “Oh yeah, I heard about that from [mainstream news source]; sounds interesting.”

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