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Beer Man Dan: Beer Wars — the Movie

May 16th, 2009 · 3 Comments

Brewzzi’s Fran Andrewlevich Gets Five Minutes of Fame

By Dan Oliver, Columnist

Beer Wars artI went to see the documentary movie Beer Wars, as promised last month, and left the theater with mixed feelings on the flick. But I get ahead of myself. Several members of the Palm Beach Draughtsmen home brewing club met at JJ’s Raw Bar in Wellington for an “attitude adjustment hour” prior to heading for the Regal Royal Palm 18. I mean, c’mon, you can’t watch a movie about beer without having some in you first, can you?

Beer Wars was a live, nationwide event, and the movie was introduced from Los Angeles, where a panel had been assembled for a real-time post-movie discussion. Having worked in television (thanks, I’m much better now) I admit to being impressed that the producers pulled this live theater telecast off without any major gaffes. I also admit to being not at all surprised to see no more than 10, that’s right, 10 people in the theater during the show.

Good job on technical stuff


Dan the Beer Man Oliver

As for the movie, I was again impressed by its technical elements, including nice graphics, animation and historic beer pictures and footage. You could tell it took five years to make. And it was, for the most part, a compelling story about the craft beer industry Davids battling the mega-brewery Goliaths for shelf space and customers hearts and minds.

The problem was, in my opinion, too much focus on the three protagonists, Sam Calagione, head of Dogfish Head Brewing Company, Greg Koch, the founder of Stone Brewing, and Rhonda Kallman of New Century Brewing. Both Koch and Calagione have done great things in this business and certainly deserve attention and respect.

Kallman has an impressive resume in that she helped found the Boston Beer Company, (Sam Adams) which is now the top craft beer producer in the country. But Kallman went off on her own and is now pitching Moon Shot beer, a light beer with caffeine added designed for the late night party crowd. Sorry, but she doesn’t really belong in a movie focusing on craft beer and my suspicion is she’s a close friend of the film’s director, Arat Baron. Baron formerly worked in the beer industry, but does not drink the stuff. At all.

Where was Fritz Maytag?

Fritz Maytag

Fritz Maytag

So my main beef is, where was Fritz Maytag of Anchor Brewing Company, the father of the craft beer movement? Couldn’t arrange an interview with him in the last five years? And there are hundreds of other talented, knowledgable brewers around the country who possess a certain amount of wackiness which would have added greatly to this film.

That said, I believe Beer Wars is a good piece of work and definitely worth a viewing by the general public. Heck, I was ready to go hijack a Bud truck after leaving the theater.

And finally, local brewmaster Fran Andrewlevich of Brewzzi appears in the film…for five seconds, while sampling some brews at the New Belgian Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colo. I was there that day as well, and remember the camera crew, but alas, only my still camera case on the table made it into the movie.
If you can’t beat em’, buy em’ or sleep with the enemy.

Beer Geek News: Brown Buys Fresh Beers

In a related but local story, Fresh Beer Inc. distributors of Fort Lauderdale is being purchased by Brown Distributing in West Palm Beach. Brown of course parcels out Anheuser Busch products, like the Dark Lord of the beer galaxy, Budweiser. (Just kidding, take it easy!)

But this is not a case of Goliath crushing David. Brown in fact has been taking major strides in acquiring quality craft beers in their stable, and have educated their sales staff on the finer points of ales and lagers. Word has it the deal went down at a recent craft beer conference in Boston.

The deal will keep Fresh Beer intact, with Adam Fine keeping the oh-so formal title of “Head Beerguy” and Ray Nickolaus being bumped up to sales manager. They will keep their same facilities and are not changing brands or distributing out of Brown’s facility.

Fine, who has watched Fresh Beer Inc. grow at an astronomical 40 percent per year the past three years, says this is a win, win, win situation for them, Brown and craft beer lovers. “From our perspective we get capital to help us expand and take us to the next level. They (Brown) now own the brands and will get the profits from future sales. All our people will be staying on”.

And you and I can expect to see more unique, flavorful craft beers from all of the country making their way into the South Florida market.

Tags: Dan the Beer Man

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Charles Keefer // May 16, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    Thanks, Dan, for the expertise.

    I live across the street from Brewzzi and had never heard of Fran Andrewlevich. Next time I walk across the street I’ll ask to meet her.

    I really like several of their brews.


  • 2 danobeerguy // May 19, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Cheers Charles,

    Just so you know, Fran is a guy.

  • 3 Amir // Jan 16, 2011 at 2:33 am

    Thanks for this interesting info. That’s a good article about Beer Man Dan: Beer Wars — the Movie.

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