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Local News

July 17, 2013

Brewery visitor tells tale of beer, hope and autism


For Lance Rice, dealing with people had always been difficult, until recently, he said, because of shyness that he attributes to his autism. But he said recently he has become much more outgoing, and now looks forward to meeting new people.

“I think I’ve made very good progress by overcoming obstacles that I had before me,” Lance Rice said in an interview. “I’m not a person who is used to talking to people. Now, I’m on a journey of personal growth.”

This reporter, who has had some experience as a consumer of beer, randomly asked Lance Rice if he was familiar with “Billy Beer,” a brew produced in the late 1970s that was promoted by Billy Carter, the youngest brother of then President Jimmy Carter.

Lance Rice then went into his windup, reciting a long litany of facts about the history of Billy Beer (all of them accurate, based on the Googling we did back in the office later) and noting it was considered the “Edsels of Beer” because consumer interest faded fast after the initial hype.

Asked what he likes about beer, Lance Rice said: “To me, it’s more interesting than soda pop and hard liquor. I like the taste of beer, in moderation. There is life inside a glass of beer. You see all the thousands of carbonation bubbles, and you can see the yeast at work. A beer is a living thing. And no other alcoholic beverage has received more attention for its packaging than beer has.”

He also noted he was particularly fond of the two Ommegang products he sampled at the local brewery, Three Philosophers and Belgian White IPA.

Chris Thomas, the producer of the film in progress, said the film crew is following Lance and Aaron Rice to more than 60 breweries from coast to coast. the documentary will be shopped around by a production company to various outlets when it is completed later this year.

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