Screen Reviews
Bottle Conditioned

Bottle Conditioned

Cynasty Films, LLC

Directed by Jerry Franck

If you’re hip, you have a favorite lambic. If you’re not so hip, your thinking “What the heck is a lambic?”

A short way in to the alcohol adoring documentary Bottle Conditioned, it is helpfully explained: lambic is a sour unhopped beer that eschews yeast, but instead relies on airborne bacteria for converting sugar to alcohol. And if that bacteria infests your centuries-old brew house, all the better. I tried this mysterious fluid way back in my college years and chose to stick with the local sixer of regular currently on sale. But now lambic is trendy and “The Thing” for those who can pay $500 a bottle.

This doc follows the owners and operators of a lambic brewery near Brussels. There’s a restaurant upstairs and a brewery downstairs, and in the 1990s it looked like the end for this unique beverage. But one brave brewer decided to make it work come hell or low sales, and the rest is history. It’s such a big thing today, it’s now featured in film festivals around the civilized world.

The story is both interesting and compelling. While home brewing is a familiar hobby, this film show how a labor of love can pay off, so long as you don’t starve while developing careful marketing. Along the way we see the details of the brewing process, and if you’re a home brewer, making lambic is well within your skill set. If you’re not a drinker, the story of perseverance and family tradition will ring true. The family patriarch wants to add an exhibit to the brewery to explain lambic to newcomers. His sons are gently opposed. They have limited space and hate to see the loss of profits, when they can sell all they make at a large markup.

This is a must-see film if you’re a craft beer person, home brewer, or distiller. If not, you might want to stop at the big box “We can get anything” liquor store and give them a nice challenge.

This film was presented as part of the 2023 Florida Film Festival.

Featured image courtesy of Cynasty Films, LLC.

[Florida Film Festival](https://www.floridafilmfestival.com/films/bottle-conditioned/


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