Friday, August 24, 2012


I have been hearing about the SUDS COUNTY USA movie for at least a year and have anxiously been waiting for its debut. My wife works in the same building as Sheldon Kaplan, owner of Ibhayi Media, who produced/edited/created the film. My wife, Ashley, told Sheldon that I'm a homebrewer and he would give us small updates about the film. Finally after 2 years in the making, on August 14th at Green Flash Brewing's giant tasting room (pictured below) I finally got to see the film.

This is a historical documentary about brewing beer in San Diego. It ended up being about much more than that. This movie does a great job telling a story and one that is particularly interesting for anyone involved with beer. The interviews are done in such a way that you really start to understand the personalities of the different people responsible for the craft beer movement (in San Diego, but very relate-able). About half way through the movie, you even start wanting to cheer them on.

The beginning goes into the pre-Prohibition history and has some great photographs from the time. And then the main bulk of the movie has to do with early pioneers in the craft beer industry in the mid 80s to 90s. It does a get job chorincling their struggle and interweaves several story lines that end up confluencing in the end. At no point in the movie was I confused, and I think that is a difficult thing to master in a documentary type movie.

The movie does a great job showing the connection between professional brewer and the homebrewer. It was especially exciting for myself to learn more about the history of my homebrew club, QUAFF. I never knew the early history and all of the notable brewers that came from the club including Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River, Skip Virgilio and Peter Zein of AleSmith, and many more local brewers that have made it big.

Who Should Watch It
I realize that not everyone reading this review is located in San Diego and is as interested in this film as I am. And at first I wondered how well this movie would do outside of my little homebrew/craft beer bubble in San Diego, but once I saw the movie in its entirity the movie just tells a great story. If you happen to be interested in craft beer or homebrewing then you will find it even more intriguing.

Sheldon plans to have DVDs and a bigger debut at GABF in Denver this October.

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