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'Beers of Joy' gives local reference to global unifier

“A lot of people don’t have a lot of things in common right now. The coolest thing is that we have beer in common.”

The opening moments of the documentary "Beers of Joy," written and directed by David Swift and Scott Owen, serve as a reminder that unity is just a pint away. The film follows the journey of four people as they seek to expand their experiences of beer, redefining family and community as they do.

One of the key players in "Beers of Joy" is Hamburg resident Ryan Daley. In his story, Daley is seeking to become a master cicerone - a position held by only 13 people. He and contemporary Joe Vogelbacher train endlessly to prepare for a grueling exam that stretches over two days.

Daley's parts in the film are shot in Hamburg, giving Western New Yorkers a refreshing reference point throughout the 2-hour running time. Flashes of the area’s most beautiful locations mingle with background images of some of the area’s best-known beer brands as he prepares to take this vaunted exam.

Lovers of beer, history, or the history of beer will each find something to enjoy in the film. Explorations of Bavarian brewing techniques that reach back millennia are cut neatly with research regarding the earliest beer styles of a young American colony. The role that beer played to help garner an identity for German regions is similar to the role beer had in developing American culture, and the film presents the parallels with stunning images of modern antiquity.

"Beers of Joy" is now available on iTunes and Spectrum On-Demand.

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