The “Brewland” crew is coming to Wisconsin. Co-producer Christopher Cross is second from right.
Imagine a feature-length documentary about the craft beer industry that doesn’t include Wisconsin. Tough to picture, isn’t it?
That’s why the East Coast makers of Brewland will be in the state (Madison, mostly) for five days beginning May 2.
Originally, the crowd-funded Brewland was to focus on brewing in Vermont, a state that ranks high nationally in the number of craft breweries per capita. “Within a week, we looked at each other and said, ‘There’s a huge story here. And Vermont’s not it.’ This story is on a national level,” says the film’s 30-year-old, Boston-based co-producer, Christopher Cross. “And it’s a story worth telling.”
Highlights of Brewland’s Wisconsin visit (which coincides with Madison Craft Beer Week) will include interviews with New Glarus Brewing’s founder and president Deb Carey; reps from MobCraft, considered the world’s first completely crowd-sourced brewery; Tom “The Barrel Guy” Griffin, who provides barrels to brewers; and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, one of several co-sponsors of the Small BREW Act which would reduce the tax burden on craft breweries.
Also on the itinerary is a tour of Potosi’s National Brewery Museum and a “Welcome Brewland to Wisconsin” event at the High Noon Saloon on Sunday, May 3, 1-6 p.m. ($7). Those attending will meet members of the documentary’s crew — who will be conducting on-site interviews — and be able to purchase some of the area’s finest craft beers, including Iron Brigade Stout from Next Door Brewing Co., Aloha Dankeschön by MobCraft, and this year’s Common Thread. Waukesha County’s Overserved Gentlemen will provide music, and Slide and Fried & Fabulous food carts will be serving.
“Wisconsin has a lot to offer our narrative,” Cross says. “The craft beer industry there is very community- and people-based. People put their heart and soul in it.”
Wisconsin will be one of at least seven states the Brewland crew will visit during its final filming tour, which also includes stops in Illinois, Colorado and California. Post-production is slated for summer, with plans for a late-2015 release.
Even when the filmmakers expanded the focus nationwide, Wisconsin wasn’t on the Brewland itinerary, for financial and logistical reasons, Cross says. Then Hops Museum founder Erin McWalter convinced him a trip to the Badger State would be worth the extra effort.
“The idea of not having Wisconsin involved in this film seemed wrong,” says Emily Locke, owner and CEO of Hive, a new startup teaming with the Hops Museum to host the event.
Cross also is looking forward to trying some beers here. Although the Heady Topper double IPA brewed by The Alchemist in Vermont is his current favorite, he has high hopes for Madtown: “I’m ready for something to knock my socks off.”