Two years ago, five visual storytellers debuted the documentary “Brewed in the Burg,” a short documentary about brewers and beer-lovers in the midstate.
After recording and interviewing in local breweries, the production team at Harrisburg-based GK Visual realized there’s much more to Pennsylvania’s beer story. Now, they aim to capture the voices in craft brewing across the state in a new documentary, “Poured in PA.”
“A lot of people seemed to like [“Brewed in the Burg”],” said Nate Kresge, co-owner of GK Visual and the film’s executive producer. “Since then, we were like, ‘Man, it would be really cool to do a documentary on the entire state.’”
With a truck filled with equipment and their snack of choice, Combos, GK Visual set off for Pittsburgh to begin filming “Poured in PA.” The filmmakers plan to feature beer-makers across the state—from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, from State College to Erie, and of course, Harrisburg.
More than 100 breweries call the Keystone State home, including Yuengling Brewery, one of the nation’s oldest and the fourth-largest American beer producer, which GK Visual hopes to visit.
Last week marked GK’s first week of filming. The team interviewed brewers at Penn Brewery, Spoonwood Brewing Co., East End Brewing Co. and Dancing Gnome Brewing Co., all in Pittsburgh.
The team plans to spend the summer traveling to film the documentary, leaving the fall and winter for editing. Kresge anticipates releasing the documentary in local independent theaters and online at Amazon and Netflix in April.
“We travel pretty often for all our projects, so it’s always great to get out and see familiar faces in other parts of the state,” Kresge said. “It’s a big state, and it’s interesting how different every corner of it is from each other, but still seemingly tied together.”
In addition to being a beer enthusiast, Kresge said he appreciates the respect most brewers have for one another.
“Nine times out of 10, brewers are more than willing to help each other out,” Kresge said. “They want their industry to survive. Yes, there is competition, and, yes, there’s some people that don’t get along. But, overall, a brewer can call up another brewer and say, ‘Hey I am out of hops; do you have any I can buy from you?’ Or ‘Could I come over there and borrow some kegs?’ That kind of thing.”
One of the biggest challenges GK Visual faces is funds. The production company funded “Brewed in the Burg” out of pocket. Traveling across the state for this documentary will cost more, Kresge said.
With that, they started fundraising on Indiegogo, a website where supporters can donate money. From early March to May 8, the campaign raised more than $6,000 from 89 contributors. As a thank you, each of those who donated received a “Poured in Pa” T-shirt, mug or behind-the-scenes access with the filmmakers.
The campaign did not go as well as they hoped, raising 13 percent of the intended goal. But GK Visual gathered what they could to tell Pennsylvania’s beer story.
“We always love getting on the road and meeting new people,” Kresge said “I mean, who doesn’t love talking about beer?”