Beer and Film Pairing: Founders Brewing and Groundhog Day
“It is never too late to be what you might have been” - George Eliot
The concept of eternal recurrence or “eternal return” is a belief, in short, that everything from the infinite universe to us, is recurring and all this happens an infinite number of times, in an infinite space over and over again. That we exist not in linear time but in cyclical time.
This concept is found in many different eastern cultures from Indian to Egyptian and resonates in the works of existentialists, such Nietzsche and Steiner. This is also the main theme and sub plot of the early 90’s film comedy Groundhog Day.
So now, THAT’S out of the way!
Today’s film and beer pairing, in honor of Groundhog Day is Founders Brewing Company and the film Groundhog Day. I usually pair a specific beer to a film, but in this case I thought it best to pair an entire brewery.
The film Groundhog Day is about a self-absorbed, obnoxious, egotistical and greedy weatherman Phil Conners (Bill Murray) who has been assigned once again, his fourth year in a row, to cover Groundhogs Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. As the mundane day ends, he finds himself and his crew snowed in for the night due to inclement weather. He then finds himself caught in an eternal loop, reliving the same day over and over again.
The film itself is personally one of of my favorites, I remember watching it on VHS and thinking ” The funny man from Ghostbusters is killing it with his 90’s mullet and sardonic wit” … I was a topical 8 year old.
Overtime though, this movie started showing real layers and actual depth. It fronted itself as this playful Rom Com, but in reality it’s a film that has an existential undertone throughout. Which makes the viewer ask themselves “When is life worth living”.
Bill Murray’s character goes on journey against fate. He shows his evil side, then deep depression and sadness, to finally realizing that his fake persona of ironic detachment from people is a shell of who he really is. He starts to get in touch with himself and changes into the man he always knew he could be. Director Harold Ramis said the loop is supposed to be 10 years to 10,000 years.
I mean who could learn to play the piano, ice sculpt and find out every detail, about everyone in that town in 10 years? Really…
This films theme, of self awareness and change from mediocrity to greatness, echoes the history of one of the most beloved Breweries in America today, Founders Brewing Company.
Founders Brewing Co. based out of Grand Rapids, MI started as a good brewery, making clean beers. They realized “due to making well balanced but unremarkable beers, we were on the verge of bankruptcy”, according to there founders Mark Stevens and Dave Engbers .
So they looked inward, made a daring move, and brewed beer that was uncompromising and bold. That exudes complexity, excitement and flavor. They changed who they were without letting outside pressures or “supposed” demands, dictate what and who they wanted to be.
The film and brewery have both been evolving. The film, for a lot of people, has become this cult classic. That delivers the message that change is the only constant in life, and if you evolve or stand still is up to you. Founders has evolved from just being “another brewery” to transcending itself to the 2nd best brewery in the world.
So today, while your enjoying both a delicious Founders brew (Dirty Bastard or Breakfast Stout) and laughing at Murray’s dry wit, keep in mind that everything has a story and that story resonates with you whether you are aware of it or or not.
Remember to Drink.Taste.Pair.Live.
Oh and no shadow. Happy Early Spring!