Search - Empires of Industry - Brewed in America (History Channel) on DVD

Empires of Industry - Brewed in America (History Channel)
Empires of Industry - Brewed in America
History Channel
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Documentary
UR     2006     0hr 50min

Brewing beer is one of humanity's oldest activities, dating back thousands of years before the birth of Christ. When the Puritans first landed on America's shores, they brought recipes and thirst with them. BREWED IN AMER...  more »


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Movie Details

Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Home & Garden, Educational, Documentary
Studio: A&E Home Video
Format: DVD
DVD Release Date: 06/27/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 0hr 50min
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Jeffery Mingo | Homewood, IL USA | 06/06/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"The documentary acknowledges that since at least the Sumerian civilization, humans have consumed beer. However, it goes further to explain how pasteurization, caps, and cans changed the product. I learned of how the Prohibition movement had multiple causes, not just a few, but I also learned that beer companies had their counterattack.

Did you ever see that episode of "The Simpsons" where Grandpa Simpson tries to keep German paintings away from Mr. Burns? In that episode, Grandpa implies that he was military buddies with the fathers or grandfathers of all the men in Springfield. The same dynamic happens in this work: there are young Coors, Pabsts, and Busches present to speak about their entrepreneurial ancestors. One interviewee said "much more simpler" and may need to brush up on his English grammar rules. This work explains why certain beer companies have survived, but it's still amazing considering how companies come and go. (Think of Pan Am, Marshall Fields in Chicago, and many other examples of this dynamic.)

There are certain things left out. The work mentions competition amongst beer companies, but says nothing on the competition between beer versus wine, or other products--legal or illegal. Would the characters in the film "Sideways" like or hate this work? The Coors family plays a role in Colorado politics to this day, but it's not mentioned. Gay activists battled the Coors company in a way only slightly less important than the Stonewall riots, but it doesn't come up. Black activists have criticized all the alcohol advertising in Black publications, but this work doesn't mention that controversy. By the way, frat boys as loyal beer drinkers doesn't come up either.

I saw a documentary on candy and I definitely wanted some sweets afterwards. I don't care for beer and this didn't want to make me go out and buy some. Beer enthusiasts may be affected differently, however."
Brewed in America: An Unpleasant Aftertaste
Bryan Carey | Houston, TX | 07/07/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Brewing has a rich history in the United States and the History Channel's Empires of Industry: Brewed in America attempts to educate the viewer on the history of brewing in the USA, along with the men, the events, and the social changes that have shaped the industry over the past 200+ years. Similar to other History Channel Empires of Industry documentaries, Brewed in America wants you, the viewer, to come away with a better understanding of the topic at hand.

This DVD aims to expand one's knowledge of the brewing industry and it generally succeeds in this area. It offers some lesser- known facts like the pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock because their beer supply was running low, along with some better- known facts, like the rise of Anheuser- Busch and its flagship Budweiser as the best selling brand of beer. This DVD offers a quick overview of the important individuals and events that shaped the brewing industry with an emphasis on the big three: Miller, Anheuser- Busch, and Coors. The majority of this educational documentary is, in fact, a history of these three large breweries with a little bit of information about Yuengling and others thrown in to make the DVD seem a little better rounded.

The historic overview of this documentary is good, but I have some problems with this DVD that prevent me from rating it any better than average. The most glaring problem is the lack of coverage given to the craft brewing industry. At the end of the documentary, there is a brief mention of the resurgence of small breweries and there is some talk about a return to localized brewing. But the coverage ends right there. None of the well- known American microbreweries or craft breweries is mentioned by name. I realize that this documentary is only fifty minutes in length, but at the very least, it should provide some coverage of Samuel Adams. Given the influence and success of this brewery, how can any documentary about brewing in America fail to mention this company? To ignore a company with this much influence is inexcusable.

Several individuals speak in this historical DVD, including a few university professors and some well- known names from famous brewing families, such as William Coors and August Pabst. Each of these men is ready offer his perspective on the history and present- day state of the brewing industry. I like the division of speaking opportunities between historians and industry pioneers/experts because it offers a balanced perspective. However, once again, there is little input from any of America's craft brewing experts, with the exception of Richard Yuengling. There is also one humorous and very telling moment in the documentary when August Pabst is talking about the future of the industry and says that Anheuser- Busch, Miller, Coors, and Strohs are the only companies that will be important to the beer industry in the years to come. The mention of Strohs is quite funny, but what is most telling is that he doesn't mention any craft brewers. He obviously knows about these companies. I surmise that his failure to mention them is because he is annoyed by them, resents the competition, and doesn't want to give the craft brewing industry any credit or free press.

Empires of Industry: Brewed in America is an acceptable DVD and it does offer a good history lesson about brewing in America from the early days up to about 1970. Once it reaches the modern era, the DVD falls flat and leaves the viewer confused and frustrated. Only a handful of breweries get any mention at all and the craft brewing renaissance of the past twenty- five years is ignored completely. The educational aspects are good, but the documentary is incomplete overall.