The host of one of Travel Channel’s most successful shows accused “big beer” of threatening the Discovery Channel if it kept Brew Masters on air.
Update 1: Missed a key fact in the original version of this story that Brew Masters’ sixth episode is expected to air when La Birreria (a rooftop beer garden in which Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione is involved) opens (probably in June according to the Beer and Whiskey Brothers blog). No announcements have been made about a possible second season.
Update 2: When the Beer and Whiskey Brothers pointed out its story to Dogfish Head on Twitter, “@dogfishbeer Interesting stuff on @NoReservations about what might have happened to #brewmasters: http://wp.me/pBL4g-1i0,” the brewery simply replied, “Yes.” Well, they had an opportunity to deny it. Interesting stuff indeed.]
Update 3: Sidebar link…La Birreria sneak peek on Eater NY. The online mag says that the beer garden is on track for a mid-May opening.
Update 4: Statement from Sam Calagione on Bourdain’s comments…
“A number of folks have been reaching out to me today about this twitter stuff. I’d rather focus on positive stuff than negative at this point. So this is what I will say:
No comment. Other than I’m a big “No Reservations” fan.
And now more than ever – support your small, truly-indie breweries! Last night I had Two Prima Pils, and an Aprihop. Today I had cask-conditioned Thyme Pale Ale, Baladin Nora, Birra Del Borgo ReAle, and am enjoying an Indian Brown Ale as I type this.
Focused on the goodness inside the bottle instead of the weirdness outside the bottle.
Update 5: Beer book author, Andy Crouch, reports on Twitter: “Discovery confirms to me cancellation of @dogfishbeer Brew Masters. Blames poor audience reception. Crazy #beer week”
Update 6: More from Crouch via Twitter: “BrewMasters was launched with a lot of marketing support and garnered widespread media coverage…but unfortunately the series did not find a large enough audience so it was not renewed.” Let the recriminations begin. #beer”
Update 7: Crouch has clarified that the show has not been cancelled but rather “not renewed” meaning that the sixth and final episode of the first season will still air.
What sparked Bourdain’s ire? A report in The Atlantic about the proposed CARE Act bill, one that the Brewers Association and other groups argue “would make it much harder for brewers, vintners, distillers and importers to get their products to market.”
Oddly enough, MillerCoors supported the program with advertisements of Blue Moon.
No Reservations shares the same production team as Brewmasters, Zero Point Zero Productions, according to a press release sent out last year.
Bourdain made his statement one day after Anheuser-Busch and Goose Island put on a full court press in the media protecting their reputation after news broke here that AB was purchasing the small brewery. Though Bourdain did not specifically name Anheuser-Busch as being involved, he implicated the country’s largest beer seller and other brewing conglomerates. This will not help the image of AB with fans of small breweries across the country.
Incidentally, the loose-lipped Bourdain also found himself in hot water earlier this week over comments he made pissing on the James Beard awards despite being a past winner himself. Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione is among the finalists for an award this year.
Dogfish Head, Zero Zero Point Productions and Discovery Channel were all contacted but unavailable for comment.
Photo credit: sifu_renka on Flickr