Sweetwood Films Inks Worldwide Distribution Deal For Documentary Chronicling Stone Brewing Founder Greg Koch’s Fascinatingly Tumultuous Journey To Bring Craft Beer To Germany

(Los Angeles, CA) – The Beer Jesus From America will continue to preach the word of craft beer with Rive Gauche Television, locking a worldwide rights distribution deal with Sweetwood Films.   The film is currently available on Amazon Prime in the U.S.

The compelling documentary chronicles Stone Brewing’s rock n’ roll co-founder, Greg Koch’s tumultuous journey to become the first American to build, own and operate his own large-scale independent craft brewery in Europe. “Koch, is a long-haired, wild-eyed, pseudo-messianic figure in the world of craft beer. The co-founder of California’s much-loved Stone Brewing Company, Koch speaks of beer as a mission, a religious passion befitting the film’s title, a nickname bestowed on him by a bemused German press” (Scott Hines, Decider).

The film was produced by Sweetwood Films and documentarian Matt Sweetwood (Beerland, Forgetting Dad), who filmed the four year journey of Koch’s uphill battle to open Stone Brewing in Germany. “I am so excited that the world will have the opportunity to watch an epic David & Goliath story about a true pioneer in the world of craft beer,” stated filmmaker Matt Sweetwood.     

Rive Gauche Television adds to its extensive catalog of over 1700+ hours of programming in non-scripted and high-quality documentaries such as “My Misdiagnosis”, “I Saw The Unknown” and “Something’s Killing Me”.  From wide ranging genres in crime, human interest, travel and animals, the distributor now showcases the fascinating culture of beer drinking on a worldwide stage.

“The Beer Jesus From America has a compelling central figure, unique subject and great pop culture significance,” stated Jon Kramer, CEO of Rive Gauche Television.  “The film checks off everything audiences love to watch, including a fish out of water element.”

Greg Koch is considered one of the Godfathers of the craft brewing industry, who transformed himself from a rock music producer to millionaire entrepreneur, by co-founding the groundbreaking Stone Brewing over 20 years ago in San Diego.  Since its inception, the company has grown to over 1100 employees, and is available in every U.S. state and over 40 countries.

“This film is a very special to me, as it takes the viewer…including me…on the hopeful, aggravating, inspiring, and tragically triumphant journey.  There’s parts that still fill me with both the ultimate of frustration and joy on each viewing.  I’m glad audiences will be able to appreciate how much goes into following a dream and that nothing can ever be taken for granted,” said Greg Koch, Stone Brewing Co-Founder & Executive Chairman.  “I’m extremely excited that people are now able to get such insight about the artistry, blood, sweat and tears that goes into being an entrepreneur facing the societal forces of entrenched apathy. Inspired, angry or energized…you won’t stay neutral!”

The documentary was featured in the “Berlin Film Festival,” “Richmond International Film Festival, Achtung Berlin Film Festival, and KC Film Fest.

Beer Jesus From America Film Synopsis:

Willing to risk millions on a dream to become the first American craft brewer to build, own and operate their own brewery in Europe, and also create an international craft brewing destination, Stone Brewing co-founder Greg Koch may have made the biggest mistake of his career!  Against seemingly insurmountable odds, the man who’s been nicknamed “the Beer Jesus from America” pushes on with passion and tenacity to join and help move forward Europe’s newly budding craft brewing scene as a revolutionary alternative to cheap industrial beer.  Over four years filmmaker Matt Sweetwood (Beerland) captures this historic birth of an American brewery in Berlin, in a story of culture clashes, broken promises and a bottomless beer glass of unexpected challenges.  For more information about the film go to www.beerjesusfilm.com.

About Rive Gauche Television

Founded in 1994, Los Angeles-based Rive Gauche Television is dedicated to the production, co-production, acquisition and worldwide distribution of television programming and formats. The company has amassed an expansive portfolio of approximately 1,700 hours of non-scripted programming and high-quality documentaries, aired by broadcasters in over 130 countries worldwide.  As one of the premiere sources for high-quality, top-rated series and specials, Rive Gauche represents some of the most prolific U.S. network producers as well as many of the premiere cable channels through co-production and distribution agreements.  The company is best known for delivering unique programming and building global brands including; Homicide Hunter, Very Scary People, Something’s Killing Me, Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, Ice Cold Killer, My Strange Addiction, My Crazy Obsession, Operation Repo, Sins & Secrets, Happily Never After, and Evil Twins.

About Sweetwood Films

Sweetwood Films (UG) is a film production company based in Potsdam, Germany. Founder, filmmaker Matt Sweetwood, has over 20 years experience writing, editing, directing and producing music videos, commercials, and documentaries for television and cinema.   After earning a BA at UMKC and California State University San Diego, Television and Film Department in 1990, Matt Sweetwood developed professional skills with an emphasis in writing and directing. Between San Diego and LA he worked as production manager, writer, and assistant director on various independent projects. In 1995 he moved to Berlin, Germany, starting a career as a writer with the agency Verlag der Autoren, Frankfurt, working on both fiction narrative and documentary film productions. His documentaries include Homemade Hillbilly Jam (2005) [co-writer and editor], which has toured theaters and festivals and is now in international DVD distribution. His documentary as co-director for ZDF das Kleine Fernsehspeil, Forgetting Dad (2008) [co-director and editor] with Rick Minnich received the Prädikat Besonders Wertvoll Award and the Special Jury Award at IDFA. He is the 2009 winner of Dokuwettbewerb with BR, Telepool for Beerland (2013), which he wrote and directed.

About Stone Brewing:

Founded by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner in 1996, the groundbreaking San Diego-based Stone Brewing is the 9th largest craft brewer in the United States. Recognized as an award-winning industry leader, Stone has been listed on the Inc. 500 | 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies list 12 times and has been called the “All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate magazine twice. The company operates breweries in Escondido, CA and Richmond, VA, plus tap room locations throughout the US and the nation’s largest craft-centric beer distributor, Stone Distributing Co. Stone’s bold, flavorful and largely hop-centric beers are available in all 50 states and more than 40 countries worldwide. For more information on Stone Brewing and its commitment to independence, sustainability, philanthropy and the art of brewing, visit stonebrewing.com or the company’s social media sites: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Media Contact:

Fred Paik, FPPR