As Virginia Craft Beer Month continues, plans are also underway for this weekend’s third annual Virginia Craft Brewer’s Fest in Nelson County. This week, we’ve been talking about some of the regulatory challenges of opening a micro-brew in the state… and today, we look at a new documentary highlighting the state’s brew culture.
Take a Penny Productions is a Northern Virginia-based firm that saw opportunity in the Virginia Craft Beer industry. Aaron Stanley is Take a Penny’s founder, as well as the director and executive producer of the new documentary, From Grain to Growler.
“Exploring some of the great things people are doing – Virginia Craft Beer just became this idea, like, this is a story that certainly needs to be told. You know, even some of the stories behind some of the newer breweries – you may see their labels on the shelves, but you don’t know how they got started and where they came from.”
The documentary looks at the nitty-gritty of craft beer in Virginia –from the humble beginnings of brewers carting their kegs in old, beat-up trucks - to outlining new regulatory changes that have made the industry profitable.
Stanley, along with producer Megan Troy, visited breweries, festivals, and fans all over the Commonwealth piecing together a portrait of Virginia Craft Beer Culture, where breweries and brewmasters serve as local embassies and ambassadors.
“At the breweries, they utilize a lot of community resources – so they’ve got local bands coming, they’ve got food trucks coming – local artists that are displaying their work in the breweries. So there are all of these relationships within the community that are intertwined. And I think it’s just a great relationship, and I think everyone is kind of thriving from that model.”
From Grain to Growler captures the soul of Virginia’s Craft Beer scene, examining the inner-workings of the industry. Stanley said working on the film made him realize the trade is uniquely close-knit, with brewers fostering affable atmospheres – often collaborating with and always supporting one another.
“This is very unlike other competitive industries – you know, a lot of these brewers feel like they can reach out to other brewers and say ‘Hey, I’m kind of in a bind, can you help me out?’ and I don’t think that happens in a lot of industries. So you can see in talking to people how tight-knit this community is and how they kind of look out for each other.”
With a statewide beer trail and near-weekly festivals on tap celebrating local brews, the industry is more than a glass half full….add the community of a 4000-member deep Facebook group, “Fans of Virginia Craft Breweries,” and you’ve got a full pint.
Visit the film's website here to check out the trailer as well as screening times and locations.
Visit Virginia Tourism's thorough portal of Virginia breweries and events here.
Visit the Virginia Craft Brewers Festival website here.