Brew Dogs and the Craft Beer Boom


Craft beer lovers, rejoice! The founders of the UK brewery, BrewDog, which was once known for brewing the worlds strongest beer (41 percent ABV, more than most whiskey and vodka), are now brewing up a television show fit for beer connoisseurs and craft beer virgins alike. The show Brew Dogs is hosted by the sometimes absurd and always hilarious BrewDog founders and beer masters, James Watt and Martin Dickie who warn, “Craft beer virgins of America, prepare to have your minds blown.”

This Scottish duo has teamed up to offer America a unique means of spreading news about the current delicious and trendsetting beer available from great local businesses in the US. Just wrapping up their first season, which consisted of seven episodes, they made it to Portland, Boston, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego and Philly. While they have not made it to Louisville yet, the season has gotten great ratings, and I have faith they will make it past the one season hump that Brew Masters floundered over.

What other television shows may struggle with, and what makes networks wary of signing on, is that television shows about beer need to attract not only the niche group of beer geeks, but a wider audience. The show Brew Masters, which, in a similar vein, followed Dogfish Head Brewery’s founder Sam Calagione on local adventures tasting, testing and creating beers around the nation, didn’t even make it past season one, which is reportedly due to pressure from big breweries who threatened to pull their advertising — plus, the ratings were low. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Jeremy Hunt, BBC Brewpubs’ Ex-brewer appeared on this show during his tenure at Dogfish Head.)

But what makes Brew Dogs different? Well, right off the bat, the show is more balanced and smart — Watt and Dickie rely on their charisma, chemistry and true, uniquely helpful local guides for beer.  Broadcast on DirecTV’s newly formed Esquire Network, this show has humor heavily outweighing explanation, and while it really does focus in on the beer, it can appeal to a wider audience because we are captivated by what Watt and Dickies say and do (usually includes them in their skuddy) —  plus their Scottish accents are downright captivating. The duo uses clever experiments and convincing human connection to drive the show.

Each episode follows the likes of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations — they arrive in a city, meet the owners of a booming local brewery and create their very own craft concoctions. The press release summarizes, “Along the way, they break every rule in modern brewing, seek out (sometimes bizarre) local ingredients for their brew, and challenge American brewers to help them create the most outrageous beers on earth – all designed to get people thinking about beer in a whole new way.” We get to watch them brew beer using ingredients such as fog, kelp, meat, cactus, and even lobster.

So, where other shows have tried and failed, I think Brew Dogs has the makings of a winner. By using two riveting and sometimes absurd hosts, presenting us with beer we would actually want to drink, and focusing on human connection, Brew Dogs takes craft beer education to America.

  1. Has anyone ever wondered: Why must they come to America to do this, and not do it in Scotland?”


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