The Next Great American Brewer: A New Reality Series 17

I apologize to all the Jersey Shore and Housewives fans, but I lack interest in just about every single reality show produced these days. In fact, the only ones that I pay moderate attention to are the food competitions, and even that is few and far between (too much drama). Well, that was until now. Finally, there is a reality series that is both interesting and relevant (to me, that is)

50 states. 20 contests. One great brewer.

The Next Great American Brewer is a reality competition television series, produced by Main Gate Visuals (who have worked with the US Army, Top Chef and Project Runway — to name a few).

The show is bringing twenty of the best amateur and professional craft brewers across the United States to compete against each other in challenges related to brewing beer and running a successful brewing company. The winner of the competition will have their beer brewed, bottled and distributed by Goose Island Brewing Company across the country.

But don’t let the show’s title fool you, it isn’t all about brewing. Although beer design and brewing skills are critical components to the show, the brewers will also be challenged on their ability to conceptualize packaging, market and sell beer, serve beer in a busy brewpub environment, cook with beer, pair food with beer, and troubleshoot all sorts of operational problems. For more information, check out the official trailer here.

Although the rockstar team of judges might not be as harsh and dramatic as Gordon Ramsey, they are promising to put a no-holds-barred smack-down on the contestants. As someone who has worked every angle of the industry — from shoveling spent grain and cleaning kegs, to package design, to marketing and sales, to working in kitchens and serving behind busy bars — I cannot wait to see how the contestants handle it. And as a huge evangelist and advocate for craft beer, I just really excited for craft beer to get the mainstream attention it deserves!

Hopefully, there will be a Season 2. Because y’all know I’m itching to audition!!

For news on the show, like The Next American Brewer on Facebook and follow @AmericanBrewer on Twitter!


About The Beer Wench

Ashley is a self-proclaimed craft beer evangelist & social media maven on a mission to advance the craft beer industry through education, inspiration and advocacy. She is currently the “Director of Awesomeness” at Bison Brewing in Berkeley, CA — where her responsibilities include everything from marketing, sales, PR, social media & events. Ashley is also a freelance consultant and professional speaker on the subjects of social media, beer mixology, food & beverage pairings. She is the founder of & as well as a regular contributor to

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17 thoughts on “The Next Great American Brewer: A New Reality Series

  • Bill Summers

    Brewed by Goose Island? That would have been cool a few years ago but not since they were bought out by InBev. Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, or a host of other “American owned” breweries would have been a MUCH better choice. Cool idea for a reality show but poor choice for a grand prize.

  • DeathBrew

    Finally, TV for ME! My TiVo will be full in no time with American Brewers, Moon Shiners, and Chopped! I hope we get some good insight on going pro. The marketing aspect will be interesting as well. Thanks for the write-up Beer Wench! Cheers!

  • Wenchie Post author

    @Bill Summers: I was friends with the Goose Island team before the purchase, and the amazing people that work for that organization have not changed one bit. I was disappointed to hear about the sale at first as well, but you have to understand that you cannot punish the entire company, which has many passionate and talented employees, for the decision of the owners.

  • Wenchie Post author

    @Tatiana: It may appear that way to the people on the surface, but you should know that not everything is as cut and dry as one would think. Yes, Goose Island is owned by the Ab-Inbev enterprise. However, parts of Goose Island still remain private, such as the Clybourn brewpub, where Jared Rouben, the host of this new series, is the head brewer.

    And despite what you want to think, the idea was not, in fact, conceptualized by Ab-Inbev. It is the brainchild of several (please note: SEVERAL) Chicago folk. And is not solely a Goose Island project. In fact, the Siebel Institute is on board as well. Not to mention some of the other local brewers and beer bars. If anything, it is a Chicago project… no an In-Bev project. You should reach out to @jbrew312 on Twitter. Name is Jared Rouben, he can tell you more.

  • Red beard brewing


    I am super looking forward to this show up here in Canada!

    I like your response but I feel the concern of many in the craft brew industry is the result of where ab/inbev profits from this venture. The legal power of ab/Inbev to turn around and make this theirs is pretty frightening I mean look what they did to Sam at Dogfishead on chicory stout.

    I wish everyone involved the best of luck and can’t wait till the show comes out on air!

  • Jackie @ The Beeroness

    I had heard about this, but I haven’t been able to find any specifics. Thanks so much for the update! Even though it might pull the focus away from brewing, and the art of craft beer, I do love that the competition includes other facets of breweries, like packaging and marketing. It really isn’t enough to have great beer if you can’t figure out how to get it into peoples hands.

  • Joe D

    No mention of where and when this will be on TV? AB-InBev forces Discovery to cancel Brewmasters but is partnering up on this via Goose Island? Sounds like it’s their way of getting a good craft brand/brewer under their domain so that they can continue to dominate market share.

  • Wenchie Post author

    I know that everyone has their concerns, but as far as I know, this show is in the early stages of production. To my knowledge, this show hasn’t even been picked up by a network at this time and is still in the pitching phase — which means that sponsorship might not be as big of an impact as everyone is claiming. I heard that they on are schedule to cast this summer, so the show is far from coming to fruition. And as for networks, considering that the production company working on it has also worked on Top Chef and Project Runway, my bets are on Bravo, not Discovery Channel. But that is only an assumption made from a little bit of research, not from asking anyone.

  • Rob O'Sullivan

    As the head of the production company that has developed “The Next Great American Brewer”, I wanted to first say thanks for bringing attention to the show, and also want to respond to a few of the comments.

    First, in regards to the AB / InBev / Big Beer issue. Development on this show started in 2010. We initially approached a number of breweries on the east and west coasts. As we looked at craft brewing in the midwest, we became very attracted to Chicago and how it had embraced the craft brew industry. We approached Goose Island, and after a number of meetings, they were selected as our initial partner for season one. This made sense for a number of reasons. We liked Chicago, Goose Island “got” what we were trying to do, the Siebel Institute (key show partner) had a great relationship with them, and quite frankly, they stepped up and agreed to give us the prize we requested – national distribution of the winning brewer’s beer.

    The acquisition of Goose Island by InBev/AB came about after initial discussions with Goose Island, and to date there have been no agreements, input, etc. with AB/InBev. This is strictly being worked through Goose Island and is independent of their relationship with AB/InBev. As stated above – the agreement with Goose Island is for one season. Subsequent seasons of the show will be run out of other breweries in other cities. However, our working relationship with the people at Goose Island has been amazing, and we would have no issue coming back to them for a future season.

    Simply put, Goose Island’s management team stepped up to the plate. They believe in the art and science of the craft brewer, as I believe guys like Jared Rouben exemplify. In addition, Haymarket Brewery and Pub will co-host the show. This dual-brewery formula is being duplicated with a Canadian version of the program, now in development. So, to cut the discussion short on the AB side…this is not an AB show, and the plan is to work with many other breweries down the line and celebrate the independent brewers. It’s a craft brewing show, and more importantly, it’s an independent brewer show.

    That leads to the next question….network and schedule. Unfortunately, due to ongoing negotiations, I cannot give out specific dates or outlets. However, the current plan will have us casting within the next two months, shooting season one this summer, and premiering in the fall. Casting is still open, and you can follow the facebook page listed above for additional casting information.

    Lastly, and most importantly – great beer is the key to this show. While there will be a number of creative challenges that will test the contestant’s ability to make it in the business of brewing, their beers are their tickets to entry. Every challenge will incorporate their own beers…so fail at the challenge or fail with your brew, you are out.

    I hope we can continue to gather momentum with this show. As you have all stated above, getting this stuff out there brings up a number of road-blocks, but we are confident that we can navigate the remaining challenges. So grab your brews and your remote controls. We are going to make this happen.

  • Melani Gordon

    Interesting to note that this show hasn’t actually been picked up yet. Sometimes shows that are still in pitching phase aren’t promoting so heavily until it has been picked up, or at least that’s what I’ve seen.

    I’m interested to see how long it takes to hit network airwaves once it’s been picked up.

    Thanks for chiming in Rob, it’s great to see your active role in the beer community. My remote control is in hand and I’m ready to support!

  • Jonathan

    I can’t believe I never heard of the show. Definitely an interesting concept. From the sounds of it, it does more than a lot of the other competition based shows out there. I just hope it all comes together well.

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