The Craft of Beer

Director Rachel Dotson

<em>The Craft of Beer</em>

Craft beer is exploding across the American landscape, and that includes the South, which is where this short documentary shines a light on the hoppy movement.

Why did you make a short film about craft brewing?

Craft beer was actually somewhat forced on me in college. My friends and I frequented a bar with a fantastic craft selection but I was like so many whose perception of beer was shaped by the lukewarm Bud I struggled through at a high school party. The bartender, who was an avid craft fan and home brewer, made a deal with me: If I could finish a craft beer of his choosing, I didn’t have to pay for it. I was sold!

From there, my interest skyrocketed. I learned as much as I could from anyone who would talk to me, which turned out to be a ton of people. I learned that craft beer is shaped by a community of people (brewers, bartenders, and aficionados alike) who share a passion for the growth and development of brewing as an art form… an art form that has been a large part of human history, I might add. I made this film to share what I have learned with my audience, and to show what beer can be outside of the big brand labels.

The South isn’t the first thing you think of when it comes to craft beer. Is there a big craft brew scene there?

The West coast certainly has us beat, but in our defense craft beer did reboot in California after Prohibition (Thank you, Anchor Steam). The craft beer scene is rapidly growing in the South, but breweries still struggle with some lingering antiquated laws. It’s these laws, I think, that are holding back a potentially booming market. Places like North Carolina, for example, are showing massive growth. Wicked Weed Brewing Company brothers Walt & Luke Dickinson speak in the film about the collaboration and expansion they have enjoyed due to looser regulations. Several large breweries are expanding with brewhouses in North Carolina, including New Belgium, Oskar Blues, and California’s own Sierra Nevada. The Southeast craft scene is growing with no sign of slowing down.

Do you think the rise of craft brews is peaking or is there still more growth to be had?

It absolutely has more growth! My generation (early twenties) is really among the first to be influenced early on by craft beer. With big beer’s chokehold on the advertising and availability of their style of beer throughout the last seventy years or so, previous generations were really only exposed to what they said that beer could be. Now, with the massive popularity of craft beer through gorilla marketing campaigns, craft beer bars, and tasting tours at breweries we know what beer can be and demand a more flavorful, full bodied drink. Craft beer is still only 7.8% of the overall market in the USA but it grows larger every year while big beer sales stay flat. No matter what happens in the marketplace, the veil has been lifted on the potential of what beer can be; there is no going back. Craft beer is headed nowhere but up.


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