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Discovery’s Brew Masters Cancelled

Well this just sucks.  I have it on good authority that Sam Calagione’s Brew Masters has been pulled from the air after just a handful of episodes.  It was good to see craft beer on TV while it lasted I guess. 

While the show was well-received by beer geeks, the general public was lukewarm about it.  I’m sure the fact that Brew Masters was moved from Sunday to Monday to Thursday didn’t help.

I’ve shared my thoughts about the things the show had working against it, but Don and I still hoped that it would be a hit, so it would pave the way for copycat shows, perhaps ones starring feuding brothers (one of whom is quite witty and handsome).

At any rate, we raise our glasses to Sam and the folks at Dogfish Head for giving it their best shot.  We hope that Dogfish Head will continue to prosper because of the attention the show brought them – they are a wonderful gateway into the universe of good beer.

I know that the craft beer world is better off for having Brew Masters on TV, I only wish the ride were much, much longer.

CLARIFICATION: There’s some conflicting info out there, so I want to clarify what we’re saying here.  There will be no new episodes shot, but Discovery may air the sixth and final episode this spring (it’s the “additional content” they say they’re working on) and possible rerun the series.  But there will be no new shows and for all intents and purposes the show is done. Which again is a huge bummer. 😦

NON-UPDATE UPDATE: The blog AtlantaBeerMaster.com (which an info-rich beer geek heaven BTW) has posted this quote from a real live Discovery spokesperson :

[Discovery Channel] is working on completing the final episode #6 of Brew Masters.  It will be airing by early spring.  They have NOT cancelled the show.  Brew Masters was slated for an initial 6 episode run.  Once the 6 are completed, Discovery Channel & Dogfish Head will evaluate the response and future direction.

That’s exactly what I’d say if I was a Discovery spokesperson in order to keep hope alive and the audience intact.  If they say it’s canceled, all the air goes out of the balloon.  It’s in their best interest to string everyone along and it’s a smart move.  regardless, my info jibes with this quote, it just not spun by a PR person.  The “future direction” is nowhere.

Ominous Observation Update (1/13/11): I made a remark last week that Discovery hadn’t updated the Brew Masters Facebook page since Christmas, while the pages for Dirty Jobs, Myth Busters, American Choppers, etc. all had been updated at least once a day.  The next day Brew Masters updated their Facebook page to show that we were wrong, but it has not been updated since.  This shows Discovery has decided not to invest in building / maintaining the Brew Masters audience past the holiday break, which is an outward sign that our insider info is correct.  Which, as we’ve said before, is a bummer.

Horse’s Mouth Update (3/30/11): I spoke with Sam Calagione about the show this morning (ran into him in the beer aisle of Eataly in NYC – very cool!) and he confirmed that no new footage will be shot but is hoping the final Eataly episode (which has been shot but not aired) will still air sometime in June. So the show is definitely kaput.  Also, Anthony Bourdain is saying Big Beer forced Discovery to pull the show. It was MURDER!

Happy Ending Update (9/26/11): Sam tells us that he’s cooking something up with production company Zero-Point-Zero (the producers of Brew Masters) for the iPad.


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Categories: Beer, Official Business

Author:Jim

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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109 Comments on “Discovery’s Brew Masters Cancelled”

  1. January 6, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    That’s too bad. I enjoyed the show, but as a beer enthusiast I should have liked it more. I found it repetitive and bland, which is amazing because those two adjectives couldn’t be more opposite from DFH.

    • January 6, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

      Yeah, there was a distinct lack of conflict beyond “can Sam get beer X to festival Y in time?” For a show about a niche subject like beer (and whiskey) to be a success, you have to offer up interpersonal conflict or slightly-cringy wit to keep people interested. Look at Bourdain – he’s show’s about food, but he never talks about it, it’s about him rubbing people slightly wrong.

      • sean
        February 19, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

        Regarding “Ominous Observation Update (1/13/10)”:

        did you mean to put 1/13/11?

        • February 20, 2011 at 9:22 am #

          Good catch, Sean. Guess I still didn’t have my head wrapped around the new year at that point. I’ve corrected it.

    • Bill Bennett
      January 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

      I suppose when you run a privately own brewery, there is stress, but just not enough stress. And any stress there is, is easy sipped away in taste testing. Stress and conflict is the key to most reality series.. I did like the show though..

      • January 7, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

        Yeah, too bad Sam isn’t an angry madman – that would make for good TV, him whipping his staff like the cake boss. Maybe a coffee show would work. They could call it “Over Caffeinated.”

  2. novabeerfly
    January 6, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    I think the two biggest problems about the show was the fact that Discovery moved the show all over the place (I’m not bashing Discovery because it’s one of my favorite channels,) but mainly as said that outside the craft beer community, I don’t really think anybody cared. I also know that Discovery has a big West Coast viewership as well and the fact that Dogfish Head does not have an overly huge presence over there probably didn’t help much either, plus the fact that a lot (If not all) of these beers were so so extreme and so out there, I think the general public would be afraid to try, more or less be willing to cough up $10-20 on a 750ml bottle.

    • January 6, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

      I think it boils down to this – you can’t have a beer show that’s about beer. It has to use beer as a backdrop for other adventures and conflicts. There should be enough nerdity in there for the geeks, but anyone should be able to watch it and be engaged and entertained.

      I think Brew Masters was a nice show, but even I couldn’t watch more than three episodes before I wandered off, and I think Sam is a rock star and I love his beer. Not his fault at all, his production company should have put him in a stronger concept besides a Dogfish Head commercial. Folks won’t come back without drama, humor or conflict.

      • novabeerfly
        January 6, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

        That’s the reason so many other shows on Discovery are so popular (Deadliest Catch, Mythbusters, Man v. Wild) is because while they still have that “Reality” type setting, it does have drama, it does have a plot, it makes people imagine and think. It’s hard to produce a nationwide product when Dogfish is not a nationwide image

        • January 6, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

          True, but we don’t have crabbing in these parts or gold mines (that new show about Alaskan gold is a big hit for Discovery right now), and folks still watch shows about this stuff. You can make a show about anything, you just have to make sure it has the ingredients to draw and RETAIN an audience. Brew Masters started with about 1.4 million views at its launch, but that quickly went to 900,000.

      • January 6, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

        HA!!! you said “boils”

        • January 6, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

          Ooh, that’s a punny!

          Now I just gotta work sparge in somehow… 😉

      • Eric
        January 10, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

        I that that is sad, even if it is true. I don’t care one whit for “interpersonal conflicts”. If I want cheap, tawdry “interpersonal conflicts”, I can whip on a soap. It’s sad that stuff like “American Chopper” interests people, because all it is about is a family who cannot act civil or mature with one another (chair throwing, ect). Who watches crap like that?

        I actually thought that “Brew Masters” was pretty funny, but perhaps it needs Sam to chuck a chair or scream at his employees in order to get people interested…

        • January 10, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

          You don’t need interpersonal conflict if you can create dramatic tension in other ways or if the scenery is moving enough to keep things interesting. Cut the show loose from Dogfish Head and let Sam explore the beer culture around the world without having it be about the brewery. Let’s see him making friends and finding common ground with folks around the globe. That would have been a better show and taken advantage of Sam’s lovable personality.

          The production company and Discovery should have understood this and created a vehicle that took advantage of Sam’s gifts in a way that captivates a general audience. It’s doable, but they didn’t think very far outside the box, which is too bad.

  3. January 6, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    Any word whether Discovery will package everything they shot into a DVD??? They could EASILY recoup some production $$$ that way.

    It’s a shame that Sam C [the guy] doesn’t have any kind of animosity towards Sam A [the company] … THAT would have generated some retention: “Oooh, didja hear what Sam said about Jim Koch last night???”

    • January 6, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

      Part of the lack of conflict on the show is because Sam Calagione is just too damn likable and wants to be friendly with everyone. That doesn’t lead to conflict, which is what fuels Reality TV.

      I imagine they’ll make every $ they can off of it, and the official word from Discovery is that they are working on “Additional Content” for the show without stating it’s canceled. But it’s canceled. The additional content might be a DVD repackaging, or they might be cutting up some stuff they didn’t use for the web, etc.

  4. Alex
    January 6, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

    I’d be interested to see how many people gave up on the show (and possibly craft beer) after the Peruvian chicha episode. “Eeeeww! Dogfish Head spits in their beer!” Even I was kind of grossed out by that process.

    I liked the show, and I’m disappointed it’s getting canceled, but yeah, they could have done more to lure in the non-Beer Geek crowd.

    • January 6, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

      Funny, but the Chicha episode was what gave me hope for the series. Sam out in the world making friends with other cultures, the cringe-worthiness of spitting in beer, the sense of history and connection with tradition, it was a much richer mosaic than the other episodes I saw.

      • Alex
        January 6, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

        Oh, don’t get me wrong. I liked that episode a lot, but the gross factor may not have been the best way to grow the show’s audience at the time it aired.

        • January 6, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

          I’m just saying it was authentic and ancient, so it was more gripping (or had the potential to be) than the bottling line breaking down. Oh noes – screw caps on the Punkin!!

  5. steve
    January 6, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    not surprised they pulled the plug, the show was just flat out boring. Sam came off as a nice guy, but that doesn’t bring in the eye-balls. I’d say the best bet would be maybe a two-hour show/doc on the rise of craft beer, the home brewers vs the guys like Sam and maybe explaining the differences between the beer.

    A Bourdain type show just wouldn’t work because while there are many, many different types of beer it is inherently a drink. Bourdain covers food and culture, which is limitless.

    • January 6, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

      I think the Bourdain model would have worked with someone like Bourdain on the show, but that’s not Sam. He’s way too nice for TV, or at least this kind of show.

      Bourdain works because his wit, his prickliness and his ability to get along with folks but still be a fish out of water at the same time. I think he could make a show about ceiling tile manufacturing work.

      I just don’t think the concept of the show played to the strengths of the host, and I think there was a distinct lack of imagination and writing on the show as well. There aren’t enough people who care about beer to have the show actually be about the beer, beer has to be the thread that holds a series of cultural encounters, competitions, rivalries, and misunderstandings together. That never happened – it was mostly a series of very nicely produced Dogfish Head commercials.

    • January 7, 2011 at 9:51 am #

      “maybe a two-hour show/doc on the rise of craft beer”

      That would be “Beer Wars” steve

      http://beerwarsmovie.com/

      • January 7, 2011 at 10:15 am #

        Agreed that Beer Wars covered this, but a Discovery special would be a whole new audience. I think History has done a little bit on beer, but it was a while ago.

  6. January 6, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    Dogfish Head nor Discovery publicly announced it’s cancellation, TMK. There is still an episode to air after the “holidays” according to Discovery. Did you read/hear this somewhere or are making an assumption.

    At any rate, I fear you may be correct. I don’t see it staying around…

    • January 6, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

      Hey Shane, all I’ll say is that I have it on good authority and that I trust my source well enough to write a post about it.

      The official line is they’re still working on “additional content,” but even if Discovery packages up whatever footage they have left and airs it, they are for all other purposes done with the show.

  7. David
    January 6, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    Too bad. I watched it, but I could tell I was quickly losing interest. The travel aspect was interesting, as was the historical aspects of the beers they brewed. I also would have liked to have seen more about the man himself and his family. They teased us a couple of times, but nothing substantial. It seemed that the general theme’s of each episode were threefold:

    -Travel to country X to brew lost style Y.
    -Something goes awry in the brewing process, should we dump our beer?
    -Will same make it to the beer festival to showcase new beer?

    It was interesting while it lasted, and I agree that it’s great for craft beer, but a little more variety would have been nice.

    By the way, you guys crack me up and I really enjoy this blog, and while I don’t know you guys personally, I REALLY think that your show would have been great. You never know though………

    • January 6, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

      I wandered off, too. I think I may have one episode I haven’t watched on my DVR from early December. Didn’t know it’d be a collector’s item 😦

      Thanks for saying you think our show would have been good. It’s still in play from what I can tell, but Brew Masters failing to find an audience will make it tough for another network to take a risk on an alcohol-related project. I’m hoping the execs saw the potential of Sam’s show, and understood the limitation of doing a show about a single brewery (or a single type of drink for that matter). I think we all know beer (and whiskey) can work on TV, it just requires the right “recipe.”

  8. tamremullins
    January 6, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    There was a Bourdain/No Reservations style show focused on alcohol and how cultures imbibe it. Three Sheets with Zane Lamprey. It bounced around from network to network and ultimately cancelled. (Witholding my impression of a show hosted by a former Girls Gone Wild host.)

    I agree that craft beer would need to be the backdrop for a show instead of the focus. Craft beer is too much of a niche product without drama (like a pawn shop or trucks barreling down icy roads) to stand on legs of its own.

    • Don
      January 6, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

      Tamre, this is off topic, but I think Ice Road Truckers is the most boring show in the world! I think it is because most people don’t know that much about ice. Everyone thinks it is like ice in the lower 48…you know slippery. In Alaska once it hits 10 below zero where it is for almost the entire ice road season, Ice ceases to be slippery and works better than asphalt. Most people don’t know that so they play on people’s ignorance to make the show seem scary. When in actuality if they called it “Truckers That Drive on Roads that are Safer than the Interstate” it probably wouldn’t get as much interest as “Ice Road” Truckers. Transportation lesson over.

      • January 6, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

        So instead of Brew Masters, this should have been called “The World’s Deadliest Brews”?

      • tamremullins
        January 6, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

        Whoa, just rename your blog Ice Connoisseurs, okay? But you nailed it – they didn’t make the show dramatic enough to hold interest and to gain new viewers.

    • January 6, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

      Okay, let’s talk about Zane, because that show drove me nuts. I saw a couple of episodes years ago, and while I thought it was a little frat-boy-esque, it was culturally interesting and explained what goes into the making of spirits. The shows about Tokyo and Kentucky stand out as being pretty great.

      Fast forward a few years to find Don and preparing to do out own TV demo. We watch Bourdain, and he’s grating and lovable all at once. We watch Top Gear (the UK version) and see how you can make anything fun and interesting you have the right approach and good chemistry between hosts. Then we watch Three Sheets, and it’s AWFUL! It had gone from a fun, irreverent and quick-witted romp to a product placement orgy.

      In one half hour, they rushed through five Hawaiian booze-makers (it was in Hawaii) and it was blatantly obvious that each had paid to be there. Zane made a lame joke, they drank the booze, he said how awesome it was, they showed how it was made (with annoying rubber ducky noises) then bam! on the the next. No wit, no fun moments, nothing that made the show what it had been. It’s no wonder why it was canceled – in the end there it wasn’t very good.

      • tamremullins
        January 6, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

        I love Top Gear (UK)…

      • David
        January 6, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

        Three Sheets has apparently found a new home on FLN and is coming back in a couple weeks.

        There was also a show called Beer Nutz a few years back on MOJO (A pretty obscure HD channel from what I recall). Anyway, the premise was great, two guys going to different cities, (mostly in the US) drinking great beers. The hosts, however, were AWFUL. Not unlikeable or anything, but they were completely devoid of any beer knowledge, so with each show, the hosts would be totally blown away by the beers they drank (Even by the average beers/breweries). Needless to say, it got kind of old, but still the premise was pretty good.

        More info is here: http://shop.mojohd.com/products/beer-nutz

        For some reason, I like the show “American Pickers”. It’s about these guys who own a antique store and go around picking through peoples junk to find the occasional “treasure” that they can resell for a profit. The premise seems kind of lame, but the dialogue between these two (who both love and hate each other) – coupled with the interesting people selling their junk – makes the show interesting. For whatever reason, when I think about what your show would be like, I think it would be American Pickers, but with beer. It’s not always about the subject of the show, it’s really about the people and their personalities that make shows watchable IMHO.

        • January 6, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

          I like American Pickers, too. It’s partly due to the chemistry of the host, and party due to the fact that it’s basically Antiques Roadshow on the prowl. The idea of finding a “pick” that’s worth a ton of dough it cool. I guess that’s what fuels Pawn Stars, too. It’s certainly not the eerie and tubby hosts!

      • January 6, 2011 at 8:17 pm #

        David,
        Fine Living Network has morphed into the Cooking Channel – home of Thirsty Traveler and Drink Up.
        Three Sheets was on Mojo, then Fine Living Network. When Fine Living Network went off air to turn into Cooking Channel, Three Sheets moved to Travel Channel. It was successful with fans, however, suffered the same fate as Brewmasters being bounced around in time slots. Now Zane hosts Drinking Made Easy on HDNet with a solid time slot and decent viewership.

        I also want to clarify that I spent June 2009-February 2010 basically on bed rest so there was a lot of tv time and then figuring out how to care for a baby. There was a lot of tv time at THREE IN THE MORNING. (not a good time slot) 🙂

    • novabeerfly
      January 6, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

      I never really liked No Reservations. While I do like the concept of the show, I just found it flat out boring. Anthony, while he does know what he is talking about and not a dumb person, I just find him to be flat out dull. No personality, no humor, just very mellow-dramatic.
      As for Ice Road Truckers, I love it, but at the same time, I actually drove 18 wheelers for about two years and loved the concept.
      But as with both of these shows, they knew their audience. People love to travel and want to think outside the box and take a local view of places. People love drama. Drama brings them back. While I enjoyed Brew Masters, it had neither. Also, while we still live in a very wine centric culture, I’m curious what the show would have been liked if it was called “Wine Masters” or something like that

      • January 6, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

        I think if you did a travel show around alcohol (wine included) it could totally work, as long as you slow down and have fun with the local culture. Don said to me the other day that Sam didn’t even ride a donkey when he was in Peru. You gotta ride a donkey! Point is, the show was about beer, not culture or people or competition and all the drama that comes with it, and that’s what ultimately sunk Brew Masters.

      • tamremullins
        January 6, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

        People who enjoy No Reservations are in it for the food porn. There’s even special episodes titled food porn.

        Bourdain offers insight and a quite realistic narrative to the show that reminds you that it’s not Food Paradise Disney. The places they shoot have real people and real problems, yet the food is something can unify them all even if just for a festival or evening.

        It’s good look at cultures and how food fits into it – whether you enjoy the host or not.

        Zane Lamprey on the other hand … was so schmucktastic I don’t even know where to start. His comedy tour with drinking songs is much better and he’s well suited for it.

      • novabeerfly
        January 6, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

        You need to trademark schmucktastic Tamre lol

      • novabeerfly
        January 6, 2011 at 4:55 pm #

        Jim…..If you have not seen it already, take a look at a podcast called “Travel by the Pint” if I was to produce a travel show, it would be based on something like this, but maybe a little bit more livelier

      • tamremullins
        January 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

        The Bachelor just started back up, Steven. Talk about drama! I’ll be saying schmucktastic a lot in reference to Brad Womack (The Bachelor). Craft Beer Goddesses can still watch trashy TV right?

        At least The Bachelor is always on Monday nights so I know when watch. 😉

      • novabeerfly
        January 6, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

        And I would care because……..I’m the only bachelor any lady should care about 😛

  9. tamremullins
    January 6, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    Have you guys heard of The Thirsty Traveler? It’s on the Cooking Channel. It was everything Three Sheets was not. Hosted by Kevin from Iron Chef America. Jim, he does actually slow down and spends time at places. Mostly in the US in the episodes I saw.

    • January 6, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

      I haven’t heard of that, Tamre. I’ll have to look into it. Most travel shows start local for the first season and then go broader if they catch on. Otherwise, they try to keep the budget small for the first year to minimize risk. Discovery didn’t o this with Brew Masters which is a good thing, because it allowed us to see some of the world. I just wish the entire New Zealand piece wasn’t about how the toilets flush. I mean they shot Lord of the Rings there. You can’t shoot somewhere else besides a hotel, a brewery and a convention center?

      • Don
        January 6, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

        I’ve seen the Thirsty Traveler. I thought it was less than it should be. There is little about the actual manufacture of the drink, and where Zane overdid product placement the thirsty guy does none of it to the point where you wonder how and where to get/make the drinks he was drinking. It was just odd and a little frustrating so I haven’t watched it again.

        • January 6, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

          THIS SHOW NO TELL DON WHAT TO DO. DON UNHAPPY. NO KNOW WHERE TO GET TASTY BEER. DON LIKE TASTY BEER!

        • Don
          January 6, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

          NO SH!@!!

  10. January 6, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

    Doesn’t sound like it’s cancelled to me.
    http://atlantabeermaster.com/?p=5413

    • January 6, 2011 at 5:57 pm #

      That reads like a fairly standard non-answer to me. The line “Once the 6 are completed, Discovery Channel & Dogfish Head will evaluate the response and future direction.” is clearly a complete lie. That type of conversation occurs well before they run out of material to air.

      • January 6, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

        They’re just trying to string interest along so they don’t lose the audience before they air the sixth show. It’s smart, just what you’d expect them to do. You’d also expect DFH to tow the line, which is what they’re doing.

      • January 6, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

        Indeed. Nice scoop, by the way. I don’t know who was first to report it, but your Twitter post was the first I saw of it.

        • January 6, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

          I googled the dickens out of it and could find nothing, so I asked around a bit and got the inside deal. I wish it was better news, like the show was renewed.

      • January 6, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

        Also, if you look at the Brew Masters Facebook page, it hasn’t been updated since December 24th. It’s like a ghost town.

    • January 6, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

      There will be no new episodes shot, Scooter, but they may air the sixth one about Italian beer (the Eatily tie-in) and might even do reruns if they can’t find a replacement (but that Alaska Gold show is taking off, so we’ll see).

      The info Atlanta Beer Master has (I like his stuff by the way – information rich) jibes with this, but he has a Discovery spokesperson as his source and is quoting the official DFH twitter feed, both of which have an interest in keeping the news on the DL. What are they going to say, we’re done with this show, but tune in for the last episode if we decide to ever air it?

      Makes more sense to keep the audience in place by saying they will air the 6th episode and then evaluate the future of the show, keeping hope (and interest / social media participation) alive. And that’s just what they are doing. But the show is done.

  11. Davesrose
    January 6, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/all-we-can-eat/beer/beer-tracking-dogfish.html

    “There will be no new episodes shot, but Discovery may air the sixth and final episode this spring (it’s the “additional content” they say they’re working on) and possible rerun the series. But there will be no new shows and for all intents and purposes the show is done. Which again is a huge bummer. ”

    Stop spreading internet rumors!! The official word from Discovery and DFH is that the 6th episode is not even in the can until this spring. It’s also obvious why there’s no official word from “BrewMaster’s” site because it is Dogfish Head. They’re still on vacation! While I do agree that it’s “touch and go” as far as there will be a second season…..there is no inside track as far as wether the show is officially cancelled. I’ll be more interested in seeing if we do see any ads for a 6th episode (which is obviously not produced yet because it hasn’t happened). To me, it seems that the Discovery channel is still evaluating as to whether there is a market for Sam or not. If we never see an episode 6, then season 2 is certainly a no go.

    • January 6, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

      Hey Dave, thanks for commenting.

      I wish it weren’t true, but I’m confident it is. Brew Masters isn’t Dogfish Head, it’s Discovery, and the Brew Masters Facebook page hasn’t been updated since Christmas Eve. On the other hand, shows like American Chopper, Dirty Jobs and MythBusters have been updated daily, with each have one or more updates TODAY. It looks like they pulled the plug on building / maintaining the Brew Masters audience at the holiday break.

      Also, Discovery already knows what they’ll do next, as the “evaluation” period is over. You don’t run five episodes, try out three time slots and not know if a show is a go or a no go. Discovery knows what it wants to do and it isn’t renewing the show, or they’d have announced it. Also, you don’t pull a show off the air for 10 weeks only to air one final episode as part of an evaluation. The only reason they’re airing the 6th episode is because Mario Bataglia is in it, and he can bring in an audience, and Discovery can sell advertising and get back some of the money it invested in the show.

      I hope against hope that it’s a hit and Discovery decides to rerun Brew Masters and then brings it back from the grave. But that’s mostly a pipe dream I’m afraid.

      As far as the official word from Discovery and Dogfish Head, they both have a stake in keeping what following the show has intact until the 6th episode airs. Discovery wants the eyeballs, and Dogfish wants the publicity for the brewpub they’re opening on top of Mario Bataglia’s Eatily in NYC. It’s in there interests to keep hope alive so everybody doesn’t abandon ship.

      Sorry to bum you out about this – we’re bummed, too. As I’ve said elsewhere, I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am.

      • Davesrose
        January 6, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

        Jim,

        Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I also kept things rolling by replying to your reply on AtlantaBeerMaster. Still, I feel like you’re jumping the gun a bit. It is a subtle debate we’re having. You’re saying Brew Master’s is officially done, while I’m saying it’s not officially done yet until episode 6 is done and evaluated. It’s obvious Discovery was rolling the dice with Brew Master’s. They’re not as invested with it as their other shows. I get the sense from looking at Brew Master’s sites and the carefree attitude that Discovery felt by just focusing on DFH because of Sam’s presence….that they are indeed keeping this more of a side project and letting DFH do more. At least from the Washington Post’s site, Sam himself is saying as of Jan/03/11….that Discovery is still moving forward even when it was found that Eataley wasn’t happening in September (when they could produce all 6 episodes together), but in March instead. This seems like a major point to me at least. Even after moving the time slots for the first 5 episodes….they’re still going to try to produce an episode 6. If it was truely cancelled, there would be no point in producing an episode 6. You’re saying that we may see an episode 6. Discovery would not continue to produce it and air it in March of all things, if they weren’t still “evaluating” it.

        As for the show itself, I’ve had mixed feelings about it. It’s probably good for the target audience of trying to show more unique brews to beer enthusiasts (and Sam is being a good salesman at showing what DFH is about). I would have liked to have seen more of the science about their beer production…but I’m a big geek over those things. That episode about dumping the 120 IPA…all I was saying to myself was instead of just looking at more yeast, why weren’t they also looking at using some amalyse to get some more fermentables. Obviously they weren’t going to go that far if they’re catering more towards the beer drinkers and less the brewers.

        Anyways, these are fine points. If I were really pessimestic, I would be thinking there would be no episode 6 let alone season 2. As is, it seems like Discovery is still rolling the dice a bit if they are seeing if there will be a ratings boost with episode 6….being so far removed from the other episodes….and if there might be more tie ins with more of the food world. At least I think both DFH and Discovery are being pretty upfront about all this. It is saying something if Discovery is still moving forward with an episode 6 even if it’s being so far forward from the other 5 episodes. Seems the official word is that “we’re focusing on 6 now, then we’ll evaluate”. True, I think the odds are slim that there will be a season 2….but who knows. One thing that I’m impressed with Sam Calagione is his buisness sense. As soon as Brew Masters starts up….now I’m seeing ads for his new book on how to start a brewery. It’ll be even better business for DFH if episode 6 does air, but they still did well with having 5 episodes.

        • January 6, 2011 at 9:51 pm #

          I thought that was you over there Dave.

          My guess is they’re only hanging in for episode 6 because they shot in Italy already (so they’re invested in it) and it has Mario Bataglia in it, who is a nice draw for the channel, no matter the show.

          I bet if the restaurant had been done on time (in September) they would have already aired all episodes and announced the cancellation, but they’re willing to wait until the brewpub is done so they don’t have to waste the footage already shot and the chance to have Mario on air.

          I think the most we can hope for is one last hurrah – a mini marathon of the first five shows followed by the final episode. After that, it’ll be Discovery DVD time.

  12. Avery
    January 6, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    No offense Jim, but you’re definitely jumping the gun here. Especially with the headline and the graphic. I’m not saying it won’t be cancelled, but at the time of your post, it hasn’t been.

    My inside source is on the show, and she hasn’t made any indication that they’re calling it quits. I don’t think Discovery is happy with the turnout, but I’m sure they know that moving 5 episodes around 3 times probably didn’t help.

    • January 7, 2011 at 8:31 am #

      None taken, Avery. I think it’s cool that you’re chiming in.

      I thought about that headline last night while falling asleep. You are correct – the show hasn’t been officially cancelled in the strictest TV terms. Discovery and Mariah Calagione have said as much. But I’m confident that no new shows are going to be made, so it’s a matter of semantics. But I agree – the headline/graphic are technically incorrect.

      As far as sources go, I’m not sure who yours is, but I’m sure you trust her. I trust mine too and feel they are in position to know what’s going on.

      I agree that Discovery short-changed the show by moving it around so much. I also think the overall concept behind the show made it hard to succeed – I feel they didn’t put Sam in the right vehicle. He’s so likable and magnetic and inspired, a show with him could be a hit, but keeping him tied so closely to his brewery severely limited the editorial options and made the show repetitive. That can work for a cake show, where the result of a day’s work is an visually stunning cake sculpture, but not a beer show, where the result is a glass of fizzy liquid. Anyway, I think Sam still has TV potential and I hope he gets another shot.

      Maybe they should kill Brew Masters and relaunch it as “Sam the Beer Traveler” or something.

  13. Davesrose
    January 6, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

    Yep, I check Atlanta Beer Master since I’m a homebrewer/craft beer enthusiast here in Atlanta….and he’s great at giving local beer news!

    Anyways, whatever our feelings, it’ll be interesting to see episode 6 (if I’m able to catch it in whatever timeslot/lack of marketing it truely gets). While I still have a bit of issue saying it’s “officially” cancelled…it is safe to say it’s in its 11th hour;) I’m assuming episode 6 is going to follow the same old formula they had for the other shows…which I also thought was starting to get tiring. Have only a portion of the show be Sam’s adventures in other drinks around the world…then switch back to the mishaps of what’s really going on at DFH (and so be a bit superfluous). From a marketing standpoint, though, I don’t see how Discovery will recoup loses by having a finale with Batali. I’ve seen some Iron Chef, so I know who he is….but I don’t see him as himself being a huge ratings bump for Discovery, considering their regular demographic.

    As far as getting a larger demographic into craft beer, I think Garrett Oliver has probably done better by being a judge on Iron Chef. I think he’s doing a better job of instilling the fact that beer is actually quite versatile for food pairings. I notice Brew Master’s site now has a food pairing quiz on it…but the show doesn’t seem to mention food pairings at all.

    • January 7, 2011 at 10:01 am #

      “As far as getting a larger demographic into craft beer, I think Garrett Oliver has probably done better by being a judge on Iron Chef.”

      He’s also a good buddy of Emeril Lagasse [who seems to have sobered up and slimmed down for “Fresh Food Fast” on Cooking Channel]

      • January 7, 2011 at 10:17 am #

        I think there a huge opportunity to have a beer show on Food Network or another foodie outlet that explores beer (and maybe spirits, too) as a food or a component of a meal.

  14. January 7, 2011 at 9:01 am #

    Well doesn’t that just suck. I for one enjoyed the series and am sorry it’s off air. I noticed the last episode recorded on my DVR mid December and then no more. I thought my kids had dorked with the DVR and I was ready to pound them in the noggin for screwing up my recordings. Too bad it didn’t have wider appeal. Let’s hope it comes back or is replaced by something else in the near future. Guess I should go drink beer to feel better…….

    • January 7, 2011 at 9:14 am #

      It’s a bummer for sure Greg. I too found it telling when my DVR went quiet as well.

      I think a beer will make us all feel better. 🙂

      • January 7, 2011 at 9:40 am #

        Well, tonight I’ll raise a couple glasses to the series; Rogue Nut Brown and Widmer Brothers Barrel Aged Brrrbon.

        • Don
          January 7, 2011 at 9:59 am #

          I have one of those Brrrbons too Greg. Let me know what you think of it.

        • January 7, 2011 at 10:15 am #

          Sounds like a good plan. My stupid cold is receding, so I might dig into that Life and Limb I have hanging around…

  15. Tom
    January 10, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    I was hoping they would have different Brewers on the show… You know like the Deadliest Catch where they have more than one boat out there, they could have just as easily done that with Brewers around the country. While I liked the show, after the second episode the “are we going to get to the beer tasting?” got old real quick. Maybe having 1 or 2 other brewers on the show they could have created something more.

    • January 10, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

      I agree, more variety would have helped. Actually, I think the show should have been about Sam, but not Dogfish Head. He should have traveled like a feather on the wind, visiting breweries and exploring the beer culture around the world. Pinning him to Dogfish Head was a great move for them (they’ve basically gotten five one-hour infomercials on Discovery) but not for the show. It turned it into a cake show, but without the cake. Those require a “wow” reveal at the end, and beer doesn’t allow for that. It just sits there and bubbles.

  16. Stephen
    January 10, 2011 at 9:01 pm #

    That stinks that it is (most likely) cancelled. I really enjoyed the show, and the way it explored the beer making process. I can kick myself, because shortly after the final show aired I deleted it off my dvr for space reasons! If only I had kept the older shows. In the past I had tried some craft brews, but I wouldn’t have considered it a hobby. After watching this show I am buying every different type of beer to experiment, and I really appreciate the differences between them. I have even taken up home-brewing! I know I am new to this hobby and interest but at least I can say brewmasters gave me the inspiration. Even if the show was cancelled, it probably opened up some peoples minds to craft beers. I guess their just weren’t enough off-centered people to keep the series going.

    • January 10, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

      You’re a perfect example of why us beer geek types want beer shows on TV, Stephen. Seriously, if I was making a poster I’d put your picture on it. We think the more people who are into craft beer the better, and Brew Masters is a great way for folks to discover better beer.

      They’ll probably package it up on DVD when the dust settles, so you might get the chance to see them again.

      And if you’re getting into beer, feel free to stick around here. We might accidentally broaden your horizons with our silly drivel. 😉

      • Stephen
        January 10, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

        Ha Ha!!! Trust me I have been reading through your articles, and I really like what I see! As you know there can be an overwhelming amount of info regarding beers and brewing, so it is a bit overwhelming but I am taking it slow and having fun with it. By coincidence I have a job interview at a brewery tomorrow which I hopefully should get ( I know a lot of workers there) so I will be getting involved in brewing on a business level too. I have a feeling that I have a lot of brewing ahead in my future:)

        • January 10, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

          Good luck on your interview and remember, if you land the gig Don and accept samples!

          But seriously good luck. If you have interesting facial hair, there’s no way you won’t get it.

  17. scott
    January 12, 2011 at 10:49 pm #

    I only caught one episode and thought to myself, ” this is the unwritten history of the world.” It was the pilgrim beer episode. I mean some of the greatest men in history kicked back a few. I’ve always longed to think I had something in common with them and I thought this show was my chance to find out what they were drinking. It was interesting and the show will be missed, if only I had seen more….

    • January 13, 2011 at 9:43 am #

      Yeah, I think the show got mired in the brewery instead of exploring beer history and culture without having to brew a beer and rush to a festival. There’s a lot of great ground to cover, and Sam would have been a good guide.

  18. jojomonkey
    January 14, 2011 at 12:14 am #

    i thought the show was amazing. so interesting learning about chicha and the egyptian trip/beer – esp. since i’ve been to Cairo. People really need high drama for a show to succeed? Maybe that’s why American Chopper is still going on – used to like that show until it was nothing but catfights and babies crying.

    • January 14, 2011 at 9:37 am #

      I think the show was great when the scenery was moving and wouldn’t need crazy drama. But the fact that they married the show to the happenings at the brewery without conflict and other craziness is what sunk the show. You can’t have a beer show that’s about happily brewing beer. Internet videos maybe, but it’s not enough to capture and hold a general TV audience.

  19. dan
    January 14, 2011 at 12:44 am #

    Good point early on by Jim: can Sam get Beer X to Festival Y. I would imagine the formulaic story is a result of Discovery’s production more than DFH. It started with American Choppers trying to get the Darth Vader bike to the Deathstar show before Luke could…well, you get the point. Then there was getting the crab to Dutch Harbor before the storm, so on and so forth. Not a whole lot of creative narration happening at that channel right now but I suppose I’m just looking to point the finger because I was really, really looking forward to watching an in-depth show about brewing for a long time. Perhaps it lacked the technical element that would have appealed to the army of homebrewers and, honestly, if you’re not a homebrewer, who cares about Brew Masters?

    • January 14, 2011 at 9:50 am #

      You nailed it Dan – a lack of originality and creativity doomed the show. Beer doesn’t have the “wow” result you get with cakes and choppers, brewing it isn’t dangerous like crabbing is, and Sam isn’t a lunatic like the Cake Boss. They had to find a way to make beer engaging and interesting for people who don’t really care about it and they failed. Sam was great while travelling, but the show was a little painful when they covered happenings at the brewery. Fun for beer geeks, but a channel-flip for the general audience.

  20. Sin City Alex
    January 18, 2011 at 11:51 pm #

    Fu** that! That show was cool! Take off that stupid show Auction Kings, who the hell wants to watch a bunch of hillbilys that don’t even have a full set of teeth trying to sell Crap! Bring back this show!!!

    • January 19, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

      It sucks for sure, but the fact is you gotta win the Auction Kings audience (or one as large) to stay on the air. I wish they’d made the show good for beer geeks or just people who like to be entertained. Top Gear (the UK version) does this well, as it’s great for car enthusiasts and regular folks alike.

  21. Little Lebowski
    January 21, 2011 at 10:59 pm #

    I’m a beer geek, and I thought the show was pretty weak. But then I don’t like Cake Boss and other people seem to enjoy that show. This seemed to me like just another Cake Boss. There was always some manufactured catastrophe. Oh, no wrong bottlecaps. Oh, no stuck fermentation. Dump the beer!!! Seriously? If it is canceled, I’m happy to see it go. Let’s see a show about craft brewing that someone put some actual effort into other than filming a bunch of anecdotes about production mishaps and beer archaeology.

    • January 22, 2011 at 11:18 am #

      I just want it to be fresh and entertaining. I don’t mind a show that creates interesting scenarios, but be upfront about it.

      For instance, I’d like to see a tasting of Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger with a group of senior citizens (elders) and college kids (youngers) who also have to answer trivia questions about pop culture and world history as they drink and socialize. Nothing too formal, just some fun banter, info about the beers, maybe a” how it’s made” segment, and a clear illustrations of the wisdom of age and the beauty of youth. Maybe the whole thing would devolve into a toga party, who knows? I think that’d be cool for beer nerds and casual watchers as well, which is just what it’ll take to keep a beer show on the air. Meaningful info for beer geeks and honest fun and laughter for all.

  22. Chad Decker
    January 26, 2011 at 8:57 pm #

    There’s always The Brewery Show for now http://breweryshow.com

  23. Mitchell
    February 2, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    What sucks is that this show got me drinking their beer. And it also got me into homebrewing. I’ve always wanted to try it before but this show made it seem really interesting. Hope it comes back on

    • February 2, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

      You’re an example of why beer fans want this show to succeed – it’s a good thing for craft beer.

    • Rachel
      February 22, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

      I agree. I home brew at least once a month and I love it. Not only having your own beer on tap at all times, but even the simple fact that its “your beer”. Whether it sucks or not is irrelevant, the bitter sweet taste of victory is always good.

      • February 22, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

        I’ve brewed twice since New Years and have another brew ready to go. I hate waiting for fermentation and bottling, but otherwise it’s great.

  24. Rachel
    February 22, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    I am just devastated with the cancellation of brew masters. I may have been one of the few that really enjoyed the show, but it was the only one of its kind. Also being a beer enthusiast it was fun and entertaining. I hope they it comes back or something like it.

    • February 22, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

      I hope we see more beer on TV soon, but I fear that Brew Masters lack of success will make TV execs think twice before putting another one on the air.

      • Dave
        March 12, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

        One good thing Jim, is that The Brewing Network is supposed to be having a TV show starting in the near future.. although from what i can tell it is just going to be a local access show in the Bay area of California, i think it could wind up being fairly successful, as i love listening to the brewing network as much as i can, and will hopefully end up turning into more.

  25. Dave
    March 12, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    This truly does suck. I am a beer geek and a homebrewer. I loved the show.. looked forward to it every week, and was very dissapointed when there were no signs of any more to come. The show was informative, and entertaining. but i guess i could see where it would appeal to a very select audience.. The general public probably just found it to be more or less boring.. most likely because they just didnt understand what was going on, although my wife, who does not drink, and only helps me brew occasionally, enjoyed watching the show with me, and it seemed to get her even more interested in the brewing process.. I noticed after we started watching that she was asking me more questions and getting more involved. I think the show was very good, but only focusing on one brewery could have been part of the downfall. I would have found the show more interesting if they had Sam hosting it, and focused on not only his brewery, but also others. I am a fan of Dogfish Head, and think they produce some amazing beers, but there are many breweries out there that are just as good if not better. Sam seems very mellow and down to earth, but also fun and quirky, which makes him a perfect host, but the show would have been better in my opinion if they had also focused on other breweries. Pick a microbrewery that is big on the craft scene such as Lagunitas or Three Floyds, have Sam go there and host the show, and talk with the founders and brewers about their company and products, let you get a feel for their company and go through the brewing process of one of their beers, and show what makes them stand apart from everyone else. Although I suppose this would be somewhat difficult as Sam has his own company to run, he may not be able to travel around hosting a show about other companies. I guess the only real problem i had with the show from the beginning was the name. “Brew Masters” implied to me that there would be more than just Dogfish head on the show. I think being that they used just one company it made it difficult to make a lasting show out of it. What i mean is for a show to be successful you need some extent of drama and things going wrong to draw you in to the show. In a successful brewery like this, you may run into some problems, i.e having problems with the yeast they pitched for the 120 minute IPA, and the end result being they had to dump the batch. Although I don’t work in a brewery, my knowledge of brewing on a smaller scale is fairly good, and there is only so much that can go wrong with a batch, especially as closely monitered as it is on a commercial scale. The other thing being that it takes a good amount of time to brew a batch of beer, an ale takes on average 4 weeks minimum, some batches taking upwards of a year, but the actual brewing process taking aproximately 8 hours on average, most of which is the mashing, sparging, and boiling where nothing is really going on and you are just waiting. and the rest is fermentation, and as much as i love beer and brewing, how much time can you spend going through the whole process? You can sum up the whole brewing process in a matter of 10 minutes or less, and after that the viewer is going to start to get bored. The episodes where they made the chicha beer, and the episode where they went to egypt to show how they came up with the beer idea and what to use in it were awesome, but how many beers do they have that entail something to that level, other than that all beer is brewed in a brewery, the process is more or less the same, and is going to get boring sooner rather than later. Still i believe the show was awesome for the short time it was on, and hope they can find a way to make it, or a spinoff, more entertaining to the general public. I’d love to see a lasting show on brewing rather than just the occasional one episode shows you see on craft beer or a microbrewery where they are trying to cram everything into 1 half hour or hour show, and you feel like your missing out because there is so much more they could have done with it if they had more time.

    • Rob
      January 6, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

      I agree with everything you posted Dave I was disappointed to hear Discovery was no longer going to show new seasons of brewmasters. I would of liked to see more from other breweries as well and maybe some competition as well preparing for Great American Beer Fest something along those lines. or maybe have Sam go check out peoples homebuilt brewing systems like he started on

  26. michael
    May 3, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    Most of the time we are way behind in europe, last week we have seen the sixt episode of brewmasters eataly. i’t didend look like it was the end of the series.

    • May 3, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

      We haven’t seen that one yet, so you’re ahead of the curve. I talked to Sam Calagione (the guy from the show) and he told me that there are no more episodes being taped and that the show was in essence cancelled – they’re just waiting for the Eataly episode to run and that’s it.

  27. Wayne
    June 28, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    Well I liked the show–no reservations. It dealt with two subjects that interest me, beer and archaeology. It didn’t need any of that false angst, staged confrontation, etc., so typical of “Reality TV”–that stuff turns me off! It was informative, trendy and interesting.

    Also, it seems to me that Dogfish could probably do its own show on the Web. I suspect there’d be enough of an audience that one or more corporate sponsors would be happy to foot the bill in return for he exposure.

    And if it does turn out to be true that “Big Beer” killed the show, then shame on them! There is absolutely nothing stopping them from getting in on this game except a corporate mentality. Furthermore, shows like this are perfect barometers for testing the market. To mangle a cliche “Think outside the glass!” Wayne

    • Don
      June 28, 2011 at 11:54 am #

      Agreed on all points Wayne. This show was pioneering too, and Jim and I were really hoping it would take off because If this show did well, there might be other networks that would jump into the fray and it would open things up for the B&WB to get their own show! If only, if only… 😦

  28. Sean Wilson
    September 6, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    Thank you for the update

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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