6.9/10
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13 user 8 critic

Beer Wars (2009)

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A contemporary David and Goliath story that takes you inside the cutthroat world of the big business of American beer.

Director:

Anat Baron

Writer:

Anat Baron
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Cast

Credited cast:
Norman Adami Norman Adami ... Himself - CEO, Miller
Anat Baron Anat Baron ... Herself
Roberta Baskin Roberta Baskin ... Herself - Center for Public Integrity
Jeff Becker Jeff Becker ... Himself - President, Beer Institute
Simon Bergson Simon Bergson ... Himself - Founder, Manhattan Beer Distributors
John Boehner John Boehner ... Himself - House Majority Leader, 2006
John Bryant John Bryant ... Himself - Odell Brewing
Betty Buck Betty Buck ... Herself - Buck Distributors
August Busch III August Busch III ... Himself - CEO, Anheuser-Busch, 1974-2002 (archive footage)
August Busch IV August Busch IV ... Himself - CEO, Anheuser-Busch, 2006-2008
August Busch Jr. August Busch Jr. ... Himself - CEO, Anheuser-Busch, 1946-1974 (archive footage)
Sam Calagione Sam Calagione ... Himself - Founder, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Peter A. DeFazio Peter A. DeFazio ... Himself - Representative, Oregon
George Hacker George Hacker ... Himself - Center for Science in the Public Interest
Steve Hoch Steve Hoch ... Himself - The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
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Storyline

A contemporary David and Goliath story that takes you inside the cutthroat world of the big business of American beer.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Brewed in America.

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 April 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Пивные войны See more »

Filming Locations:

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$220,000, 31 December 2009
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Jim Koch - Founder, Boston Beer Company: Unfortunately almost all our beer knowledge comes from Budweiser, Miller, and Coors. It's as if all we knew about food we learn from McDonalds.
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Connections

References Strange Brew (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cheers?
20 September 2010 | by hte-trasmeSee all my reviews

"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 it proceeds between being a series of profiles of small brewery owners, a history of the beer industry in America, a travelogue of the director's trip to various beer-related corporate events, and a screed against the modern business of brewing and Anheuser-Busch in particular.

The one element that seems to unite everything is that is seems to be trying very hard to get across the message that "the beer industry operates as a business," which was quite obvious to me before I started watching "Beer Wars." There is little attempt to hide a bias against Anheuser-Busch, Miller, and Coors and towards small breweries, but this black-and-white view of the subject becomes tiring and does not seem very thoughtful. Big-beer executives are interviewed in long shot to show their opulent boardrooms, small beer businesspeople are shown with inspiring music at home with their cute children.

What's missing is the fact that both large and small breweries are businesses -- they both want to make money and they both want to make beer. Putting everything in such simple terms does a disservice to the subjects. I usually like the beer from smaller breweries much better, but that doesn't mean I can't recognize that they are moneymaking operations as well (or that I can't enjoy a Boddington's because Inbev has bought a stake).

In addition, director Baron is keen to point out that she comes from a place 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 any definition other than that or certain lawmakers. One of the underdog subjects she decides to follow is trying to market a mixture of beer with caffeine, which sounds to this viewer like a terrible idea and not the kind of gourmet beverage that Baron is suggesting Big Beer is trying to quash.

In all, an interesting subject comes through, but the film is far too unfocused within it, and even though I agree with most of its points, it comes off far too stridently partisan for my taste.


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