Monday, August 24, 2009

American Beer (2005)

Directed by Paul Kermizian. If you know me, and why would you be reading this if you didn't, you know I've been working insane hours. I've been seriously considering changing careers. Part of this fantasy came from seeing "American Beer," a poorly shot, wonderfully satisfying documentary about a group of friends who visit 38 U.S. breweries in 40 days.

They interview microbrewers, who by the way, are all beautifully nuts. If you look at the pure numbers of the beer industry, it's nothing but corporate consolidation -- 70% of beer consumption is three brands, while craft beers consist of well under ten percent. Yet, planned and executed properly, these microbrewers are happy proprietors of successful small businesses and ecstatic customers love their products.

It reminded me a lot of the independent music business of the '90s, when (some) bands and (some) record companies figured out how to keep margins low and find a sufficiently sized enough fan base to keep a business afloat that existed completely outside of the mainstream and compromised nothing.

The real inspiration to me came at the end of the flick, when the obligatory "where are they now" moment explained that one of the guys on the road trip was so knocked out by the whole thing that he opened the Cape Ann Brewery in Gloucester, Mass., which I checked out online and found is running fine and has decent distribution. Now I want to quit my tedious desk job and open a microbrewery that has an authentic pit barbecue. It would be the only one I have ever heard of, and I can't imagine who wouldn't want to go there, since it seems like there must be absurd crossover between the groups of people who love each of those things. Somebody else open this place so that I can go there.

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