National Geographic Launches TV’s First Kickstarter Funded Series: CHUG, with Zane Lamprey
Is authentic Malaysian alcohol worth climbing a 50-foot coconut tree for? Is it possible to out-drink an Australian beer-guzzling legend? Or to survive jumping off a bar roof in Fiji on a dare? What about going shot-for-shot in an Austrian schnapps drink off? Probably not, but it’s certainly fun to try!
Beginning on Monday, Nov. 24, at 10:30 PM ET/PT National Geographic Channel (NGC) is taking viewers on a bar crawl around the world with traveling “drinkaloguer” and rum company owner Zane Lamprey (@zanelamprey; NGC’s Showdown of the Unbeatables, “Three Sheets”) in the new Kickstarter-funded series, Chug. In the series, Lamprey is motivated by his thirst to try local customs, food and, well, alcohol. He travels by train to an array of exotic and boozy locations and along the way interacts with the local culture and befriends new drinking buddies.
Chug is not just a show about chugging beer, as the title may infer. The chugging refers to Lamprey’s primary mode of transportation — trains. He chugs through each region, sipping drinks that are specific to the area and breaking down where in the world all the ingredients in each drink were derived from. For example, even though they’re separated by only one stop on the train, the historic split between Austria and Germany in 1866 severely changed beer production laws in both countries. And sugarcane grows only in warm environments, which allowed Fiji, with its fields of cane ready for harvesting, to become a booming rum capital. And how do they transport the sugarcane around the island?
Chug demonstrates how a community’s past drinking traditions have affected its present drinking customs and shows us that sometimes old traditions die hard. Lamprey attends a local Fijian island drinking ritual that has been passed down for generations and, by partaking, officially becomes an honorary member of the tribe chief’s family. He then explores Viennese coffee with a kick, in a coffeehouse believed to be the birthplace of café culture. But nothing can compare to the intoxicating Roman gelato he samples that is made from, of all things, red wine.
From Australia to Malaysia, Chug makes it clear that having a drink with locals is one of the best ways to gain unfiltered insight into their community. While Chug may be driven by traditional customs around the globe, the series itself has made its way into the history books by being the first Kickstarter-funded series to air on television. Lamprey began the campaign in April 2013 and breezed past his financial goal a few months later thanks to support from his loyal fandom. Chug is one of three foodie-themed projects NGC is launching in November. From Nov. 21 through Nov. 23, NGC will air the three-night miniseries event EAT: The Story of Food, which looks at the history of human civilization as told through the food on your plate. And premiering just before Chug on Nov. 24 at 10 p.m. will be new series Eric Greenspan Is Hungry, which follows chef Greenspan on the meatiest cross-country road trip ever.
Premiere Episodes Include:
Chug: Kuala Lumpur
Premieres Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, 10:30 PM ET/PT
Host Zane Lamprey heads to Malaysia to soak up the local libations. He begins his journey in the capital city, Kuala Lumpur, where an expert mixologist whips him up a unique cocktail made with Malaysian ingredients. After exploring the city, Zane ventures to the countryside and finds himself on a jungle plantation located an hour and a half outside of Kuala Lumpur. The plantation has a bar where the locals go to drink Toddy — a sweet and naturally fermented nectar collected from the Toddy palm tree — and enjoy some local food.
Premieres Monday, Dec. 1, 2014, 10:30 PM ET/PT
Zane makes his way Down Under to Sydney, Australia, in search of great beer, great wine, and great people. He starts off with a visit to one of the oldest pubs in the city, where he shares a few brews with his tour guides and learns about the pub’s felonious history. He then makes his way to a bar at North Bondi Beach to get a taste of the city’s more modern drinking customs. What’s on tap? More beer. After a night drinking with some Aussie football players, Zane chugs his way to a vineyard in Hunter Valley for a lesson in local wine.
Chug is produced by Inzane Entertainment for National Geographic Channels. Executive producers are Zane Lamprey and Mike Kelly.