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Eric Strader
Eric Strader
Eric Strader writes about the craft beer scene in Indiana and Michigan. He's a dad, husband, potter, soccer coach, special education paraprofessional, who likes to read, bike, hike, and canoe.

Film showcases Michigan's exploding craft beer industry

Meet the brewers, bloggers, foodies and farmers who are spearheading the growth of the Michigan Craft Beer industry in The Michigan Beer Film.

Posted on March 1, 2014 at 6:00 a.m.

What is more local than craft beer. Going from mass market selling beer, dumbing beer down to be the least objectionable to the most people, to reverting back to something that died in the 1800s in the industrial revolution. A local brewery, producing local beer, for the local residents” - Rex Halfpenny, The Michigan Beer Guide, opening statement in the Michigan Beer Film.

I have stated over and over again that my home state of Michigan has earned it's name the Great Beer State. They have a thriving guild supporting the state's brewers – this from their website -

Michigan's thriving brewing industry contributes over $24 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $133 million. In terms of overall number breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #5 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as "The Great Beer State."

At the time that the movie was filmed, I believe there were around 140 breweries operating in the state.

Scott Graham, executive director of the Michigan Brewer's Guild stated in a June 28, 2013 interview with Mlive, “I have no idea how many breweries are under construction. I used to know about everyone.”

Kalamazoo, MI based Rhino Media Productions has created a film showcasing the explosive growth of the Michigan Craft Beer industry. They interviewed many people in the industry including Greenbush Brewing Co. , Paw Paw Brewing Co. , Bells Brewing, Dark Horse Brewing Co., Founders Brewing Co., The Michigan Hop Alliance, Hop Head Farms, Kalamazoo Beer Week, Kalamabrew, John Liberty (Michigan beer journalist), and Michael Kiser of Good Beer Hunting, just to name a few.

Green Bush Brewing, located in Sawyer, MI (not far from Michiana) was showcased throughout the movie. They will reach their third anniversary during the summer of 2014, so it was informative to see their evolution and expansion from beginning to where they are today. Many of my great buddies were superstars in the movie including Trevor Klimek, brewer at Paw Paw Brewing, Bryan Wiggs, brewer at Dark Horse, and of course Laura Bell of Bell's Brewery.

How lucky am I, or we as brewers, to be able to go to work every day, do what we do, splash around in puddles, smell the smells, do the math, do the chemistry, take care of biology, and then have people patronize us.” - Bryan Wiggs.

Shorts Brewing is another brewery that has taken the state (and further reaching beer lovers) by storm and just announced a $5 million expansion. “So the state of Michigan itself is awesome, I mean we're surrounded by fresh water. If there was any place on planet earth that you would want a bunch of breweries to congregate, Michigan is a good spot.” - Joe Short, owner/brewer Short's Brewing Company.

This film was a wonderful inspiration and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it. Not only is Michigan the Great Beer State, but I believe that Michiana is right in the heartland of great breweries that include Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

The film is being showed around the state at various locations on the big screen. I actually purchased a copy at Bell's General Store. You can purchase the film and find out more about the project, at their website mibeerfilm.com or follow them on facebook facebook.com/MichiganBeerFilm


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