‘Nice Beer State’ documentary released | the BIZ

LANSING — In honor of its 25th anniversary, the Michigan Brewers Guild has cracked open a documentary film.

The “Great Beer State” made its debut at the guild’s Summer Beer Festival in Ypsilanti. The documentary was first shown for guild members at a private screening July 22 followed by a VIP screening for Michigan Brewers Guild Enthusiast Members the morning of July 23.

After the debut, a series of public viewings are planned throughout the state. These viewings will be at Guild member breweries, Allied Member locations and other “community friends of Michigan beer” locations, according to a release.

A viewing schedule will be posted on MiBeer.com and on the Michigan Brewers Guild Facebook page. Guild Executive Director Scott Graham said the longer than one-hour documentary will be available to members later this week.

“It’s just a matter of when they schedule it,” Graham said of viewings. “We’re encouraging folks to (schedule) it in August, September or even October.

“Check with your local brewery and see if they have a viewing scheduled.”

The trailer for the documentary is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDxFHFw1uYs. The documentary has a run time of nearly 1 hour and 20 minutes and comes from more than 60 interviews over the last four years.

The documentary follows the 2019 book “A Rising Tide – The Story of the Michigan Brewers Guild” by Fred Bueltmann, as well as the “Michigan’s Great Beer State Podcast,” which began in 2020. Bueltmann is the co-host of the podcast.

“Besides celebrating 25 years, this film shows stark differences between then and now, when it comes to locally brewed beer and its contribution to community culture,” Bueltmann said in a release. “From before the Michigan Brewers Guild in the mid-eighties, to the formation of the Guild in 1997 and up until the present day, there has been a cultural transformation.

“The storyline is loosely held, shared through stories and observations from dozens of brewery folks who have been a part of the brewing scene; past, present and future.”

“The film is a fun and engaging look inside the Michigan beer community,” Graham said in the release. “After 25 years local beer is truly part of our culture and fabric; it is part of what makes Michigan great.”

Graham, who joined Big Buck Brewery in Gaylord in 1995 as founding manager, is in the documentary. So are the retired Jack Archiable, of Traverse Brewing Company and Short’s Brewing Company; Russell Springsteen, of Right Brain Brewery; Tina Schuett, of Rare Bird Brewpub; and Joe Short, of Short’s.

“I feel like we were a community of people in love (with) what we were doing,” Short said in a nearly 3-minute trailer for the documentary. “That’s what the Guild’s job was. This was a group of people who got together for one purpose.”

Short’s wasn’t part of the Brewers Guild in the beginning because the Antrim County business wouldn’t start for another decade. Graham said the documentary isn’t just about the past.

“They’re certainly part of the evolution of (the guild),” Graham said. “Part of (the documentary) is looking forward. It’s not just looking back.”

The release of the documentary is intentionally timed to culminate in a Wrap Party on Oct. 22 following the Detroit Fall Beer Festival at Eastern Market.

The guild was formed Oct. 22, 1997, when 49 people representing 30 operating breweries met in Saginaw to discuss how to “collectively promote Michigan-made beer,” according to a release. The guild was officially formed on Dec. 3, 1997.

It now has nearly 300 member breweries and hosts five festivals across the state, including the first Spring Beer Festival in Traverse City at Turtle Creek Stadium on May 7, 2022.

Michigan ranks sixth in the country in terms of overall breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, according to the organization. The state’s brewing industry has a total economic contribution of more than $600 million and generates more than $144 million in wages.

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