Lance & Aaron Rice at Great Lakes Brewery If it took nearly forty years for your dream to come true, would you give up? Now in his mid-fifties, Lance Rice is a gifted beer historian with a photographic memory. For nearly forty years Lance has used his computer-like mind to memorize a staggering amount of knowledge in beer and brewery history. Yet even more astonishing is the fact that Lance has never been able to share his passion with the world… Lance has autism.

Lance’s Brewery Tour is a journey, a film and a book – and for Lance, it is a dream come true. Lance’s dream is to travel to America’s greatest breweries and write a book about the history and culture of American breweries. His book will be a beautiful written and photographic encyclopedia of American beer culture past and present. Lance’s Brewery Tour will also be a feature length documentary about Lance’s inspiring journey from being a “low-functioning” child to overcoming the odds and becoming an author who hopes help others with autism. With the nation’s most notable breweries standing behind Lance and his story already making national news, Lance’s Brewery Tour is poised to become a landmark film and and book!

Lance’s Brewery Tour, however,  is more than just a film and book. It is a project that will inspire and change the world – and that’s just the beginning. Through Lance’s Brewery Tour Lance will be able to establish a charity called Lance’s Room, which will help others with autism achieve their dreams, attend college, receive vocational training and more. That is the heart of “Beer. Autism. Hope.”

 

Lance, Autism and Defying the Odds

 

Lance Rice in Middle SchoolAt the age of 4 Lance’s parents noticed significant changes in Lance’s behavior, emotions and communication. As Lance grew older his ability to communicate, develop motor skills, express emotions and participate in school worsened. During a time when autism was less understood, Lance was institutionalized for 8 months and underwent treatments and tests, many of which are considered unethical or illegal today. By adolescence Lance was considered low-functioning, “slow” and “retarded.” He was afraid to leave his home, had trouble communicating even with his family and was riddled with phobias.

Lance graduated high school through special education and vocational training, earning his diploma in “Building Maintenance.” Remarkably, Lance developed most as an adult. He overcame many phobias and developmental challenges in his mid-to-late twenties, improving his communication skills, life skills and emotional understanding. Yet his greatest period of growth is happening right now in his mid-fifties. Once considered “low-functioning” and unable to leave his own home, today Lance goes for walks and bike rides alone, shops and volunteers in his community. For those touched by autism Lance’s life story is miraculous but his greatest miracle is happening right now! Since Lance’s Brewery Tour began Lance has taken interviews with TV stations and radio hosts, newspapers and made public appearances in front of rooms packed full of people.

As a child autism was not as well understood or accepted as it is today.  Lance was considered “low-functioning” and was institutionalized and was given treatments that are considered unethical today. They called him slow, retarded – People just really didn’t know what it was back then.

Jean Rice-Watson (Lance’s Mom)

It’s astonishing to imagine Lance never spoke with strangers or spoke publicly before Lance’s Brewery Tour. Lance’s beautiful story continues to unfold but one thing is certain: Lance’s journey is a once-in-a-lifetime story and a miracle that continues to grow. Lance’s family is astonished by his new found confidence, pride and joy. Lance’s development as well as the incredible changes he is experiencing as a result of the nation supporting his dream will be the subject of the Lance’s Brewery Tour documentary.

 

What Others Are Saying

 

Words cannot express the journey my wife and I are undertaking with our son Jack, and I understand very well the challenges Lance goes through every day. I can’t imagine where Jack will be at 55, or the challenges we will face along the way, but I hope he has such a loving and supportive family around him as Lance does.

~ Brent

Good Luck! Our daughter is mentally disabled and we know the challenges. It is exciting to have you share this perspective. Thank you.

~Al

When I saw Lance’s video I cried. I saw my son in Lance and hoped someday he could grow as much as Lance did… that he too could have a dream and have people who love him support him forever. This is just overwhelming and beautiful. Thank you. 

~Nicki