You know I just returned from a week-long vacation in Positano, Italy. I’m lucky to have married into a family that loves Positano, visits often, and has friends there. Because of them I sometimes get rare opportunities that other visitors might not.
One night, for example, we had dinner at one of their favorite restaurants. Derek and his dad talked with the owner for hours about wine — something all three men love and appreciate. (Seriously, they talk about it for hours.) We were there long enough to watch everyone leave, as the four of us kept talking into the wee hours of the morning.
Somehow the conversation turned from wine to beer. Someone disclosed that I’m making a documentary about N.C. craft beer. Before we knew it, the trailer for Brewconomy was playing on a phone.
As the phone leaned against a wine glass, the four of us watched the trailer. I was overwhelmed with the moment. It felt surreal to sit in Italy, watching the trailer for my documentary about North Carolina craft beer.
It felt like one of life’s key moments.
They happen organically and become unforgettable. It’s one of the things I love most about world travel. The unexpected, incredible moments like that one.
Thinking back on it now, I realize how many similarities there are between the Positano restaurant scene and N.C. craft brewing. Stick with me for a minute. Let’s talk through it.
Most of the brewers we’ve talked with want to use local, organic ingredients when they can. These ingredients give the beer a distinct flavor that speaks to the region in which it was made. They also happen to support the local farmers and small businesses, while simultaneously being more sustainable choice because they weren’t shipped long distances.
This process is an artisan approach to creating something worth savoring. There is care, time, and attention spent on making it the best. It’s meant to be savored and appreciated.
Now, compare that to the dish we ordered at the restaurant I mentioned above.
We were served fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella drizzled in olive oil. I’m told the mozzarella was made that morning in a nearby town — a town known for having the best mozzarella — using milk from a water buffalo. They tested mozzarella made from other sources but found the texture and flavor to be sub-standard. By the way, mozzarella that’s not consumed that day is sold back to the supplier, who uses it for other things like pizza.
That’s some of the best damn mozzarella I’ve ever tasted. Talk about something worth savoring! You can’t find anything like that here.
Derek and I have hunted for something comparable but everything we taste makes us a little angry. It’s nowhere close to being that good! I don’t talk about this often, lest I sound uber-snooty, but my point is this: you can probably only find that in this particular region of Italy. (Sensing a theme, yet?)
I sat there in Positano — full on some of the freshest and most delicious local foods and wines — wishing I had a N.C. craft beer to share with our Italian friends. I don’t know how to ship something like that but I hope we can figure it out. I’d love to know what they think.
By the way, Brewconomy is coming along well. We have something special for our Kickstarter backers scheduled for next week, our last shoot days lined up, and a solid start on our post-production processes. Be sure to follow the film’s progress on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Sign up for my monthly email updates while you’re at it. I sent one out this week with details about our vacation and a few epiphanies I had while overseas. The emails are filled with sincere, heart-felt info about my life as a filmmaker and how it affects you — so sign up using the form at the top of the page in the right-hand side bar. You don’t want to miss the next emails.
Note: The photo of basil, mozzarella, and tomatoes was taken at different restaurant. Somehow I missed taking a good picture on the evening I wrote about above. It feels criminal to not share that info with you, lest you find out later and feel deceived.