Last night I watched the premiere of Brew Masters on the Discovery Channel. The beer world had been buzzing with excitement about the show for quite a while and although I was quite keen on the idea of a whole television series dedicated to craft beer, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. All I really knew was that the show was about Sam Calagione, the founder of Dogfish Head Brewery. Now I’ve seen the movie Beer Wars, I’ve read Sam’s book "Brewing Up a Business: Adventures in Entrepreneurship" and I follow Dogfish Head pretty closely. As weird as it may sound, I kind of felt like I already knew the guy.
The show last night just reaffirmed my belief that Sam and I would get along swimmingly. He’s a funny, personable, really cool guy who is beyond passionate about what he does. I wasn’t sure what to expect execution-wise but I thought that it was nicely done, in true Discovery Channel fashion. It was nice to take a sneak-peak into brewery operations and the storyline was interesting.
I thought the first episode did a great job of catering to beer nerds and novices alike. You didn’t have to know a ton about beer to understand and appreciate the show but at the same time, if you DO know a thing or two about beer and brewing you weren’t bored. It’s a nice balance of education and entertainment.
They focused on Bitches Brew, a beer that came about thanks to collaboration with Sony Music. The beer was part of a 40th Anniversary tribute to the legendary Miles Davis record. I wasn’t too familiar with the Ethiopian ingredients they used and I enjoyed the history and creative thinking that went into coming up with the recipe. They also focused on a bottling machine issue and I was glad to see them present some of the everyday challenges involved in brewery operations. It was actually pretty refreshing to watch their poor packaging guys inspecting cases of bottles, looking for a missing metal piece. It showed a completely unglamorous part of the business and it gave the brewery a more down-to-earth kind of appeal. You don’t always think of the challenges and it’s nice to see ordinary people making an extraordinary product, despite them. It really helps you connect to the brand.
I was worried it might be a big commercial for the brewery but that wasn’t the case at all. If you missed it, I suggest checking it out on iTunes or tuning in to the Discovery Channel tonight – it airs again at 8:00 EST.
If you’ve already watched, feel free to comment and let me know what you thought!
[techtags:BREW MASTERS, DOGFISH HEAD, DISCOVERY CHANNEL, SAM CALAGIONE]