It’s common knowledge by now that Discovery Channel’s show Brew Masters, featuring Sam Calagione and his adventures with DogFish Head was cancelled before the sixth and final episode could be aired.
Word also got around (first tweeted by Anthony Bourdain) that the series was cancelled because big beer threatened the Discovery Channel to pull their ads. As far as we have heard, Calagione and Dogfish Head have not confirmed or denied the reason for the cancellation and Discovery has blamed it on poor audience reception.
Giancarlo and I have been talking a lot about this. Advertisers pull a lot of weight with media organizations, so it makes sense to me that if they threatened Discovery to pull the ads — and there were ads, there was a commercial for Blue Moon (a MillerCoors brand) at the beginning of just about every break — Discovery would listen. Otherwise it could mean serious financial problems.
MillerCoors could also have said to Discovery, “since you’re airing this series about beer where the content was out of our control, we’d like a show dedicated to beer where we can control the content.” Something like “How Beer Saved the World,” perhaps, which was coincidentally sponsored by MillerCoors? Which aired on Discovery about a month and a half after the fifth episode of Brew Masters?
Lofty narration on this show made claims like “Beer created mathematics!” “Beer created language!” “Beer was critical to the birth of civilization!” It’s also no coincidence that the only brands portrayed in that show were MillerCoors brands.
Just another way big beer is trying to quash craft brewers.