It all began in 1993 when I began at UBC. I was 18.75 years old and had 2 night classes. After my Thursday eve class I’d accompany my older classmates for some pool at the graduate lounge and we’d have the occasional beer or 2. What I had never been exposed to (having never been old enough to buy been in a bar) was Shaftebury Cream Ale. That was my gateway craft beer.
Flash forward to 2014 (just 21 years later) and I made the Telus Storyhive pitch to do a micro doc about craft beer. Being totally not an expert, I required a sizeable amount of the grant funding to go towards research. Meeting the makers, the dreamers who were just building out their new breweries, and bringing my editor and “writer” out on frequent occasions to accompany me on my research trips.
What came out of that journey was my film Brew Love.
Getting the opportunity to chase the story and meet many of the new brewers was a lot of fun. Being that I had recently relocated to North Vancouver, I was a little North Van-heavy on my interviews (including Green Leaf Brewing, Black Kettle Brewing Company & Deep Cove Brewing), but I wasn’t exactly lazy. I even met with John Mitchell (who coincidentally lives in North Van) who co-founded B.C.’s 1st craft brewery Horseshoe Bay Brewing (with Frank Appleton). I also made it out the BC Beer Awards, met the crew from Strange Fellows who were still building their brewery, got down to Yaletown Brewing and caught Tariq’s interview just before he became a distiller, found time to grill notable beer enthusiast Dave Shea (who let me give him that title), met the Thirsty Writer Joe Wiebe (who had to summarize the history of the BC craft beer scene in under 60 seconds) and gathered a couple of cool members of the CAMRA Vancouver executive at the time. I also got into the guts of Craft Beer Market while it was being built to try and understand why someone was about to open a facility in Vancouver with 140 taps…I was doubtful at the time that it made sense, but I was clearly wrong.
What was really interesting was that Telus did not demand exclusivity, so the film was free to tour the film festival circuit. And it was just after I’d learned about a Vancouver-based easy submission platform called Film Freeway. It made festival submissions a snap, especially helping me find the free ones. And surprisingly enough the film got some serious play. Enough that I needed to make an English subtitled version and provide a timed transcript…because someone may want to show it in the Ukraine.
The film played at 25 official film festivals, as well as pop-up screenings, beer festivals, and several of Joe Wiebe’s events, and even featured at a BC Business conference called The Business of Craft Beer.
The film’s continued success was satisfying – enough so that I thought we might be ready for a short piece on our local distilling scene (I had just discovered Sons of Vancouver), but traction was hard to get on that one.
Ultimately I got onto a lot of invites to really interesting craft beer events and met many more people in the scene…and it’s been hard for me to lose interest the more I learned.
So this blog, which is a pretty ego-centric concept, is my next craft beer project since I’m enamoured with the idea of bringing all these pretty bottles and cans to someplace to special.