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9/2009 New Beer Movie: Beer Wars


Anat Baron, who headed Mike’s Hard Lemonade for a few years, has produced a funny and often eye-opening take on the state of beer in America.

In short, Baron accuses big brewers (Anheuser-Busch especially) of ruining beer by producing fizzy yellow stuff and by gobbling up and crushing competitors.

On the one hand, she’s right— AB is a huge company. With its big bucks it can buy lots of advertising ($1.5 billion a year) and it can enocurage distributors and retailers to give its products the best shelf-space in stores. (Oddly, Bar0n does not bother to talk about the ubiquity of Bud products in stadiums and sports arenas. It has pained us to visit ballparks and find that local microbrewers are either shut out or stuck in distant corners while Bud is being sold every few hundred feet and being hocked by venders.)

On the other hand, America now has 1,400 small brewers—more than it has had in a century. Consumers have more choice now than perhaps ever before.

Anyhoo, the film is chock full of facts that will . How many folks know, for example, that three brewers make 78% of the beer in this country (Anheuser Busch at 49%; Miller 18%, and Coors 11%)? How many understand what the three-tier alcohol system is and how its affects the choices of beer that are available to consumers? And how many know that the beer industry is a lobbying powerhouse in Washington, DC?

As the film concludes, viewers learn that the mighty Anheuser-Busch was acquired by a Belgian mega-brewer, InBev, and that Miller and Coors had merged. What does this hold for the future of beer in America? If we are lucky, Baron will make a sequel and let folks know.

You can read more about BEER WARS and see a trailer at  You can order a copy by clicking here.


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