The American Brew Comes to DVD

In the last thirty years, microbreweries have taken off in terms of popularity, becoming real competitors to the old guard of the industry like Miller, Anheuser-Busch and Coors.

As part of its Here's to Beer campaign to promote the beverage, Anheuser-Busch commissioned the Emmy and Peabody award-winning documentarian Roger Sherman to make The American Brew, a 2007 film chronicling beer's history in America. The film is produced by Florentine Films, which Sherman founded in 1976 with fellow filmmakers Ken Burns and Buddy Squires.

Anheuser-Busch has been the biggest brewer in the U.S. for decades, but in the last 10 years, microbrews have closed in on their market. Sierra Nevada is now the tenth largest brewer in America and Boston Beer (that make Sam Adams) is number six. The staggering variety of domestic and imported beers available even in supermarkets today is indicative of its resurgence. Gastropubs with beer lists many times longer than their food menus require as fine a palate in the beer drinker as was ever required of oenophiles. 

The American Brew chronicles the history and origins of beer in America, but it also details the resurrection of the microbrewery and home brewing movements. It interviews prominent figures in the beer world like Fritz Maytag of Anchor Brewing and American Homebrewers Association founder Charlie Papazian.

In April 2007, The American Brew premiered on cable's A&E just in time for the 74th anniversary of the end of Prohibition. On Oct. 13 of that year, the Brewer's Association honored director Sherman and writer Jesse Sweet with the Beer Journalism Award in 'Electronic Media.' Finally, on Oct. 13, 2009, exactly two years after the announcement of that award, The American Brew will arrive on DVD. We'll drink to that.

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