Documentaries can be very divisive among movie goers as some may find them boring. However, the 2013 documentary “Crafting a Nation” is perfect for all who love craft beer.
Often times documentaries relating to beer in any manner take a more cold business minded approach to the subject. The focus tends to end up on macro vs. micro in some manner and loses the heart and soul of the industry. However, “Crafting a Nation” is solely focused on the passion and love that many brewers have for the craft beer industry.
The main idea behind the documentary was to showcase how craft brewers were surviving and thriving throughout the economic downturn occurring in the United States. The main reason though, was due to the passion and commitment for brewing better beer and taking part in the local economy.
There are a great number of larger more established breweries scattered throughout the film along with some familiar faces in the industry. Sully from 21st Amendment, Oskar Blues brewmaster Tim Matthews, and Russian River’s Vinnie Cilurzo all make memorable appearances discussing what it takes to make it in this industry.
The featured brewery from the documentary though is the Denver, Colorado based Black Shirt Brewing Co. The film follows them as they make the jump to open their brewery, realize their dreams and cover the issues they face whether they are financial or governmental.
Few films have the heart that “Crafting a Nation” possess and the passion for the project by the filmmakers truly shines through. While the story of craft beer has been told numerous times through books and other documentaries it is told truly from the brewers perspective in this film and is not skewed simply to say micro is better than macro.
The greatest thing about this film is you do not even have to be a craft beer convert to love it. The raw storytelling of the film trumps the subject matter and while it would be more interesting for the viewer to be a craft beer drinker, it is not a prerequisite.
The film has somewhat slipped through the cracks of popular culture but is finding an audience on DVD and through streaming services. While it is not widely available it is worth seeking out.
If you are thinking about opening a brewery or simply wish to see behind the proverbial curtain into the world of running a craft brewery than Crafting a Nation is an absolute must see film. Be warned though, you will absolutely want to have some good beers on hand as watching this will most definitely be thirst inducing!
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon every Sunday on 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.
Final Verdict: A great documentary is timeless, especially when the focus is on the storytelling and subject matter and not on hype or shock value. “Craft a Nation” is about passion, regardless of the industry, this is a film that is a must see for all who appreciate seeing people pursue their dreams and follow their passion.
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