Brew Masters premiered tonight on Discovery Channel. The craft beer community and blogosphere were abuzz with excitement about the premiere—and for good reason. The first episode was excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
The premiere followed Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, as he and his team created "Bitches Brew," a beer made in partnership with Sony Records to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Miles Davis album.
Brew Masters provided a great behind-the-scenes view of a craft brewery. I really enjoyed the scenes where Sam and his brewers (Floris and Bryan), formulated the Bitches Brew recipe. I also appreciated the glimpse into some of the technical aspects of beer production including the search for a missing bottle filler as well as the cleanup of label glue run amok.
Brew Masters is a also great looking show. I expect Discovery is spending some decent coin on the production of the show. More importantly, the cast is very likable and fun to watch. Sam is very charismatic and is a natural on TV. Floris and especially Bryan, are equally entertaining.
I expect Brew Masters will be a big hit for Discovery. Reality "business" shows have been become fairly popular. The formula is simple—follow a cast of interesting personalities as they labor to service the needs of their demanding clientele. It has worked surprisingly well for tattoo parlors (Inked and L.A. Ink) and even cake decorating shops (Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes), for heavens sake!
In my humble opinion, the craft beer business is far more interesting and I expect we'll see another beer-related reality show in the not-too-distant future. I think Greg Koch of Stone Brewing would make an excellent lead. Great speaker, interesting personality, and top notch beer...
It will be interesting to see how the craft beer community reacts to the success of Brew Masters and Dogfish Head over the long term. It's pretty clear that Dogfish will sell a LOT of beer as a result of the show—as they should. I, for one, can't wait to taste Bitches Brew. However, at some point, will Dogfish grow "too big" for the craft beer geeks? Will they sell "too much" and become one of the dreaded "big brewers"?
Time will tell... In the meantime, I offer Dogfish my congratulations and wish them the best of luck! As they say, "a rising tide lifts all ships," and I expect the entire craft beer community will benefit from this exposure.
What did you think of the Brew Masters premiere? Will the show be good for the craft beer industry? Who would be a good host for the next craft beer reality show?