In honor of its 25 Anniversary, the Michigan Brewers Guild has announced the release of its Great Beer State Documentary which draws from more than 60 interviews gathered over four years. Building on the work from the 2019 book A Rising Tide – The Story of the Michigan Brewers Guild and Michigan’s Great Beer State Podcast which was launched in 2020, the film was produced by The Beervangelist, Fred Bueltmann, author of A Rising Tide and co-host of the Guild’s 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. 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,” stated Bueltmann. “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 documentary premiered at the Michigan Summer Beer Festival in Ypsilanti last weekend with a private viewing for brewery members on Friday evening and a VIP screening for Enthusiast Members on Saturday morning. A series of public viewings is being organized across the state at member breweries, Allied Member locations and community friends of Michigan beer. The schedule will be posted on MiBeer.com and shared via the Guild’s Facebook page. This is an essential element in the 25th Anniversary campaign which will culminate in a “Wrap Party” on October 22 following the Detroit Fall Beer Festival at Eastern Market (the actual 25th Anniversary of the Guild).
“The film is a fun and engaging look inside the Michigan beer community,” says Scott Graham, the Guild’s executive director. “After 25 years local beer is truly part of our culture and fabric; it is part of what makes Michigan great.”
It was October 22, 1997 when a surprising collection of 49 people representing 30 operating breweries gathered at a pub in Saginaw to discuss how they could collectively promote Michigan-made beer. A consensus arose out of that meeting that a formal association of Michigan brewers should be organized and on December 3, 1997, the Michigan Brewers Guild was officially formed.
The Michigan Brewers Guild is the network of innovative and passionate brewers that serves as the recognized advocate for the Michigan craft beer industry. The mission of the Guild is to promote and protect the Michigan craft beer industry with an overarching goal to help craft beer acquire 20% of the market by 2025.
Michigan’s thriving brewing industry conservatively contributes more than $144 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $600 million. In terms of overall number breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #6 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”
Formed in 1997, the Michigan Brewers Guild held its first festival in July 1998. Today, it hosts five festivals dedicated exclusively to Michigan beer produced by its nearly 300 member breweries (a number that increases on a monthly basis). Within the state, and beyond, Michigan is referred to as “The Great Beer State” ranking #6 nationally for the number of breweries.