When Hops Cross Borders

Frédéric Bastiat is alleged to have said that when goods don’t cross borders, armies do. Regardless of the attribution, the sentiment that international cooperation is preferable to violent conflict is as relevant today as it was in 19th century France. Neighbors need not fight when they can collaborate. And who knows, the result of shared knowledge and experience may even be something wonderful.

That was certainly the case with Flying Dogma, a unique craft beer that came about as a result of the unlikely collaboration between Flying Dog Brewery in Maryland and Dogma Brewery in Belgrade, Serbia. After an introduction made by Free the People CEO Terry Kibbe, a handful of early morning Skype calls, and a couple of emails traded back and forth to hash out the recipe, Flying Dogma was born, a beer that’s light, crisp, dry, fruity, and unlike anything you’re likely to find in either America or Serbia.

The story of how Flying Dogma came about is interesting enough that Free the People sent a team to Serbia to document it, and several months later, on September 11, 2018, a select group of friends and colleagues got to view the result for the first time.

The new documentary, Beer is Freedom: When Hops Cross Borders, received its debut screening at Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland, before a gathered crowd of about 60 dedicated freedom/beer lovers. The event was generously catered by Jim Caruso, CEO of Flying Dog (and a committed libertarian himself), and featured a special guest of honor. Vladimir Stojković, the CEO of Dogma Brewery and main subject of the film, dropped by on his first U.S. visit to view the film and answer questions from the crowd.

The film was introduced by director Sam Martin, and after the screening, Vladimir Stojković, Jim Caruso, Matt Kibbe, and Matt Brophy (Flying Dog Brewmaster and COO) conducted a lively panel discussion and Q&A. By any measure, the event was an unqualified success, as well as being a ton of fun.

The history of beer makes an interesting example of how nations can learn from one another. For many years, Europe was regarded as the gold standard of beer producers, with people traveling from all over the world to sample the delights of Belgium and Germany. But with the American craft beer revolution, all that began to change. While European producers were held back by their reverence for tradition (in Germany’s case, a legally mandated reverence), American brewers showed a characteristic lack of restraint, determined to see how far they could push the most extreme styles of beer imaginable.

Today, young European brewers are drawing inspiration from the crazy concoctions of the Americans, like the bizarrely delicious Dill Pickle Gose on offer at Flying Dog, and IPAs so hoppy they will melt your face off. It just goes to show that, in order to achieve true greatness, it pays to learn from the successes of others, whether a crazy Serbian like Vladimir, or an entire nation of innovators. When hops cross borders, beer drinkers of the whole world benefit.

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Logan Albright

Logan Albright is the Director of Research at Free the People. He occasionally takes time out from his busy schedule of railing against the evils of government to play the part of musician, amateur novelist, and moustache enthusiast.

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