The craft beer bug bit Mike Sills hard while he was on a trip to Vermont where he visited three outstanding breweries: The Alchemist, Hill Farmstead and Lawson’s Finest Liquids. The awakening led him to approach his friend Matthew Parola with an idea; “Let’s go on a vacation to Vermont, film a documentary and drink some great craft beer.” With these simple beginnings, “Brewland,” a documentary about the craft beer industry in the United States was born. Parola immediately agreed and signed on as producer.
The film is a coming-of-age tale about an industry struggling to define its identity in an ever-changing environment growing at an unsustainable pace. “Brewland” aims to showcase the many sides of the craft beer movement while seeking to reveal both what it means to be a craft beer and what the future may hold for the craft brewing world.
“Craft beer as an industry is growing faster and faster each year. We want to see what brings them all together and why so many people have become enamored with this movement,” says Sills, director of the film.
As the duo dug deeper into the film’s subject matter, they realized that they were just scratching the surface of the story. Their research in Vermont into beer, the industry and brewers revealed a richer, multi-layered narrative that required more research and story development. To help with those activities, the production team hired another friend and writer, Chris Crossen.
With the new help on board, the crew expanded their scope outside of Vermont to include Boston and New York breweries. As the production grew in scope, breweries as far away as Colorado and California came into focus.
But, as the scope of the film expanded, so did the budget. To help finance the project the production team turned to Indiegogo. Indiegogo is an online, crowd-funding website which allows people to donate to campaigns while receiving gifts (called “perks”) in exchange for their contribution. BREWLAND is offering a number of exciting perks attached to their campaign including a custom American Apparel T-Shirts and Hoodies with the Brewland logo; a custom home brew recipe kit; and a brewing session with the crew at Hopster’s in Newton. Contributions are easy to make and can be done on a computer or from the Indiegogo app (available on iOS and Android phone systems).
“IndieGoGo helps creative people raise the funds by reaching out to the people – which is something that has been important to ‘Brewland’,” said writer Crossen. “With the launch of the IndieGoGo, fans can help fund the project and be a part of the making of the film.”
To date the film crew has reached such nationally recognized figures as Jim Koch, the founder of Samuel Adams, Alan Newman, one of the founders of the Magic Hat Brewing Company and Dan Kenary, the founder of Harpoon Brewing along with locally recognized brewers such as John Kimmich of The alchemist, Shaun Hill of Hill Farmstead, and in an exclusive interview; Alan Davis of the late Catamount Brewery.
As production continues, Parola says, “We have talked to so many people on all sides of the industry. Its been a big learning experience and ton of fun.”
You can contribute to the film’s Indiegogo campaign at: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/brewland
View the films teaser preview at: https://vimeo.com/106526131