• Craft Beer Makes a Movie

    4.Olivia Wilde in DRINKING BUDDIES, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

    Olivia Wilde in DRINKING BUDDIES, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

     

    It was the movie Beer Wars that partially helped in igniting my desire to start this website, and now there is another movie coming out about craft beer.  Drinking Buddies will be coming out August 23rd, 2013 and while the movie isn’t completely about craft beer, it is the backdrop for a story of a group of friends.  This one, if for the craft beer alone, is on my list to go see.

    Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) work together at a craft brewery. They have one of those friendships that feels like it could be something more. But Kate is with Chris (Ron Livingston), and Luke is with Jill (Anna Kendrick). And Jill wants to know if Luke is ready to talk about marriage. The answer to that question becomes crystal clear when Luke and Kate unexpectedly find themselves alone for a weekend.  DRINKING BUDDIES is written and directed by Joe Swanberg and stars Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, and Ron Livingston.

     

    Q&A WITH DIRECTOR JOE SWANBERG

    7.Joe Swanberg, director of DRINKING BUDDIES, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

    Joe Swanberg, director of DRINKING BUDDIES, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

     

    What was the inspiration for this project?

    The inspiration originally came from two places: The first was studio comedies of the early 1970’s, specifically BOB & CAROL & TED & ALICE and Elaine May’s THE HEARTBREAK KID, which were both mainstream films (and big hits!) that portrayed complicated, interesting characters and adult points-of-view.  The most important lesson I took from these films is that they never forgot to be funny, which earned them the space to also be complex and challenging.

    The second inspiration was the craft beer world.  Craft beer is the most exciting business in America right now, if you ask me, and I wanted to get inside a world that I love.  I’m a home brewer and a craft beer advocate, and as the years passed, I realized that nobody was making a movie about it.

    I started talking to a friend of mine, Kate Thomas, who works for Half Acre Brewing in Chicago.  She told me about her job, and about being a woman in a very male dominated industry.  Through her stories, and other conversations with friends who work at breweries, I started to form the Kate character, who has learned to thrive in her surroundings.  The other main character, Luke, and his girlfriend, Jill, are modeled after my wife and I at a certain point in our relationship before we were married, when we were still trying to figure things out.

    As with all of my films, once I had the cast in place we started to work on the characters and the story together.  Olivia had great ideas about Kate, and brought a lot of her own life to it.  Jake Johnson and Anna Kendrick shared their own relationship experiences with me so that we could blend them with mine to make Luke and Jill as relatable as possible.  Once we all started talking about these issues, we realized how universal they are.  Everyone struggles to balance relationships and platonic friendships with the opposite sex.  Everyone has doubts and questions about whether they’re with the right person, or whether they could be happier with someone else.  We had fun throughout the shoot talking about these subjects and working our ideas into the film.

     

    How did you work with the actors?

    Working with actors remains the most inspiring part of the filmmaking process for me, and DRINKING BUDDIES allowed me to devote most of my energy to this.  I was lucky to have a few days with Olivia and Jake before we started shooting, and I used this time to familiarize them with the Chicago craft beer world.  We brewed beer together in my basement, so they could see how it’s made, and then we took a trip to the Three Floyd’s brewery, where my friend Andrew Mason, who brews there, showed them around.  I knew I wasn’t going to turn either of them into beer experts in 2 days, but I wanted them to soak up the atmosphere and get a sense of the people who work in a brewery.  During this beer boot camp, we were also discussing the characters and the story and finding ways to plug Olivia and Jake’s experiences into the story.

  • New Belgium: Burn Restoration Critical to Prevent Beer from Tasting Like Wildfire

    With the wildfires in Colorado there are a lot of things that need to be looked after when the fire is finally put out, and water source is one of those things.  We’ve talked a lot about water here before on Indy Beers, and this is another story in which water is the chief interest.

    Runoff from the burn area is likely to alter the flavor of tap water taken from the Poudre River, and the beer brewing process isn’t able to filter those flavors out of your Fat Tire.

     

    New Belgium Brewing is entirely at the mercy of Fort Collins’ water treatment plant when it comes to the viability of its business, and the speed with which the High Park Fire burn area is restored is vital to the brewery’s future, said Jenn Vervier, New Beligum’s director of sustainability and strategic development.

     

    “The health of the watershed equals the quality of our beer,” she said.

     

    Rain runoff from the burn area has caused a spike in iron and manganese in the river, and because of those and other pollutants and treatment for increased algae in the river water, there’s a risk the taste and smell of the city’s tap water could change once the city begins taking some Poudre River water sometime in the next month, she said.

     

    In terms of your Fat Tire or 1554, New Belgium’s chemists have identified six compounds in Poudre River water that could affect the flavor of your beer, Vervier said.

     

    Rainstorms cause turbidity in the Poudre to spike, leading to the change in the water’s flavor. So, to detect those changes, the brewery has set up a regular water tasting regime to determine if the brewery is receiving off-tasting water.

     

    “The most accurate test for compounds is just to taste the water,” Vervier said.

     

    Every time ill-tasting water is detected, the brewery will have to completely shut down for about 24 hours while the water treatment plant mixes more water from Horsetooth Reservoir into its system, providing clearer water to local taps.

     

    The brewery will have to wait at least nine hours for clear water to flow from the city’s treatment plant to New Belgium, and then the brewery will have to flush its entire system out with the clearer water before it can start brewing again.

     

    New Beligum has chosen not to purchase a $1 million filter that could strip out all the bad flavors, she said.

     

    Without the city’s conscientious water treatment efforts and access to Horsetooth Reservoir water, New Belgium could not survive in Fort Collins, Vervier said.

     

    The best way to ensure long term good-tasting water is to restore the watershed, she said.

    Source: http://www.coloradoan.com/

  • Cows Fed Beer Grain Burp Less Methane

    Beer may give you gas, but the grains used to produce beer, when fed to cows, reduces methane output of by cows up to 20%.

    Julie Gaglia from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry said the Reducing Emissions from Livestock Research Program was part of the Australian Government’s Climate Change Research Program, which is aimed at making research outcomes useful and applicable to industry.

     

    “The Australian Government is working with researchers, industry and farmers to ensure the science addresses the effects of a changing climate in a way that will help land managers improve their management practices and remain profitable and sustainable,” Ms Gaglia said.

     

    Associate Professor Richard Eckard, Director, Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre at the University of Melbourne said the project aims to develop practical feeding strategies that dairy farmers can implement to curb methane emissions and maintain profitability.

     

    “Methane is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. And each grazing dairy cow can burp up to 600 grams of the gas per day,” Associate Professor Eckard said.

     

    The project has investigated several waste products that are high in oil including whole cottonseed meal, cold-pressed canola meal, brewers’ grains and hominy meal as feed additives for dairy herds.

     

    “For every one per cent of oil added to a ruminant’s diet it translates to a three-and-a-half per cent reduction in methane emissions,” Associate Professor Eckard said.

     

    “In the case of whole cottonseed, it not only significantly reduced methane emissions but also increased milk production by 16 per cent, milk fat by 19 per cent and milk protein by 12 per cent.”

     

    The results show that the most valuable time for the oil to be added is when pasture is limited in quantity and has a low nutritional value.

     

  • Sierra Nevada Finds Rich Water Source

    As I have discussed here before, water is a very important part of beer production.  Any well established brewing company will go to great lengths to secure and protect its water supply.  It turns out that Sierra Nevada brewing is sitting on a water gold mine.

    Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has learned it can supply most of the water the brewery will need from a well on its property in Mills River.

     

    In January, the California-based company announced it was building an East Coast expansion facility in Western North Carolina, and initial plans called for the company to purchase water from Asheville, whose water lines serve the site.

     

    After the announcement, Sierra Nevada decided to drill for water at Ferncliff Industrial Park, where the company has purchased 100 of the park’s available 262 acres for development. On the second attempt, officials tapped into a dream water source.

     

    According to Stan Cooper, who will co-manage the Mills River plant, the well will generate about 160 gallons of water per minute, which is roughly 50 gallons a minute more than Sierra Nevada needs for the brewing process.

    The water source is a good, pure one, and Sierra is going the extra step to protect the well.

    Sierra Nevada has lined the well, which is only about 500 feet from where the main building of the facility will be, with stainless steel — an expensive process but one that ensures higher quality water over time.

     

    “We have probably one of the only stainless steel-cased wells in Western North Carolina, or North Carolina,” brewery co-manager Brian Grossman said. “It’s encased down to 75 feet.”

    It’s good to see that they are doing this with an eye towards conservation, as well.

     While the brewery appears to have plenty of what it needs with regard to water supply, it will place great emphasis on conservation.

     

    “It’s going to take a lot of water to make beer,” Grossman said, “but this brewery will be very, very efficient.”

     

    He said Sierra Nevada estimates it will churn out about 1 gallon of beer for every 2½ to 3 gallons of water it brings in during brewing, compared to the 10- or 12-to-1 ratio of some other breweries.

     

    Sierra Nevada also plans to have an anaerobic wastewater digestion system on site, recovering bio-gas — a natural byproduct of the process — as an energy source for the brewery. It also has tentative plans for a unique rainwater utilization program.

     

    “We definitely want to be good stewards” of the land, Grossman said.

    Source: http://www.blueridgenow.com/

  • To Make Beer, MillerCoors Helps Farmers Save Water

    I’ve written articles before about the importance of water in making beer.  It seems that even the big beer companies struggle with water issues.  When a brewery needs a local water source to brew its beer, it is in the best interest of the brewery to protect that water source.

    “It is not going to be one organization or one company or one government that is going to solve this problem. It is going to take all of us collectively,” said Kim Marotta, MillerCoors director of sustainability.

     

    MillerCoors acted after an internal assessment showed that three of its eight U.S. breweries, including one in Fort Worth, Texas, faced potential water shortages. The company is working on water conservation at its breweries, but also is identifying large agricultural water users near its breweries and asking to partner with them on conservation.

     

    “We’re just starting that work,” Marotta said. “You have to start farm-by-farm.”

    I’m glad to see a company like MillerCoors taking an interest in the environment, even if it is self serving.  The initiative is a good start in the right direction and may lead to better brewing processes with less of an environmental impact.  Clean, pure water is a resource that is increasingly difficult to come by in many parts of the world and large corporations are taking notice.

     “You have to do more with less,” said Ken Klaveness, executive director of Trinity Waters, a non-profit conservation group focused on the 512-mile-long Trinity River, which supports water needs for over 40 percent of Texans.

     

    “If you want your business to be here 15 to 20 years from now, you need to be proactive,” Klaveness said.

     

    Projects with farmers can range from planting of grasses with deeper root systems that hold water and reduce erosion to installing high-tech monitoring stations in pastures.

     

    Farmers are being asked to change irrigation techniques and equipment and plant a mix of different crops. Ranchers are asked to alter the ways they rotate their cattle grazing.

     

    MillerCoors is also working with 800 barley farmers in Idaho to alter their irrigation practices in ways that use less water. MillerCoors will not disclose how much it is spending, but Marotta said the effort was a high priority.

    When water is the largest ingredient in your product, I can absolutely see a need to make saving and protecting that resource a high priority.  Hopefully it will be done in a manner that doesn’t horde that resource and keep others from getting their rightful share.

    Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/