Craft beer shares many similarities to pop culture fandoms. They both have a very passionate base and for the most part, are positive and supportive communities. The new documentary, Brewmance, captures this energy while developing an engaging story about the industry and in general, tales of pursing the American dream.
Director, Christo Brock, turns to some of craft beer’s heavy hitters to provide their commentary and insights into the business. There’s some informative history about its humble beginnings with home brewers and how a rebellious desire for quality, taste, and individuality sparked a gradual revolution leading to the current state. For people unfamiliar to the brewing process, there’s a nice tutorial explaining the different steps supplemented with helpful animations.
This good mix of personal anecdotes and history occurs at a good pace not lingering on a specific topic for too long. It’s easy to follow in a pleasing, digestible way without being dry. The subject matter can cater to both enthusiasts and those with casual curiosity.
Interwoven within all this information, is the tale of two Long Beach breweries; Ten Mile Brewing Company and Liberation Brewing Company. The former is formed by a religious father and son team while the latter is a collaboration amongst friends. Both their journeys are filled with highs and lows and every step is documented in the film. Brock cleverly edits in industry insiders’ thoughts and experiences while starting up to transition to and preface what the two breweries are going through.
Between the two main breweries, Ten Mile is the more compelling narrative. Dan and Jesse, the father and son respectively, had a contentious relationship beforehand that even came to blows. Their shared interest in brewing brought them together and their business venture helped them appreciate each other more and develop a better understanding. They also embody the independent spirit of microbrewing more because they take a more hands on approach to every aspect of starting their family enterprise rather than contracting it out.
There are fascinating parallels of the subjects of the movie to comic creators today. They first began with a love for the industry and started off experimenting in their own homes. They had to work regular day jobs to pay the bills before they took the scarry plunge to become brewers full time. There’s a universality of their experience that is relatable.
Despite focusing on beer, Brewmance is also a love letter to small business. We’re there to witness all the hardships of opening their breweries but can share in their joy once a successful opening day arrives. Both of their journeys are testaments to the perseverance of the entrepreneurial spirit.
The movie doesn’t shy away from the negativity of craft beer. With so much success in the field, there’s a change in the culture where companies become protective of their intellectual property. Liberation Brewing is served with papers for trademark infringement and struggle with the legal troubles.
Brewmance is an enlightening and heartwarming documentary that weaves the passion of craft beer into a little guy success story.
Brewmance will be released on VOD for all major platforms in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and more this Tuesday, April 13th.