On Tap: The Michigan Beer Film Premieres at The Fillmore

By: Toni Cunningham | November 1, 2013
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If you’re a fan of Michigan craft beer (who isn’t?) and film, get ready for a few of your favorite things to collide. Kevin Romeo of Rhino Media Productions is responsible for The Michigan Beer Film, a documentary that is, essentially, a love letter to Michigan beer.

The Michigan Beer Film tour will make a stop at The Fillmore, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit, on Thursday, November 7 for a screening and craft beer extravaganza. Drink specials will be available starting at 5:30 p.m. and the film begins as 7:30 p.m.

Romeo, director and producer of the film, began Rhino Media Productions over three years ago with two close friends, and ever since, they’ve focused on building a business that is both creative and dependable. The Michigan Beer Film is their first feature film.

The Michigan Beer Film digs into the explosive growth of the Michigan craft beer scene, and as an enthusiast himself, Romeo said it just made sense (both artistically and financially) for Rhino’s first feature film to highlight craft beer in Michigan.

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“Beer is so beautiful, and the stories are so beautiful. The people that are doing it right now are all about authenticity. And I dig that,” Romeo said. “At the same time, I knew that if we did (the film) right, it could receive a lot of traction with an enthusiastic fan base. There are a lot of Michigan beer fans out there. I’m hoping to create more.”

With over 140 craft breweries in the state, and a run time of 120 minutes, it was impossible to pay tribute to all of them. Romeo and his crew visited over 30 breweries throughout the course of filming, but not all of them made the final cut.

Several Metro Detroit breweries are well represented in the film, including Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. in Warren, Batch Brewing Company in Detroit and Ann Arbor Brewing Company.

The film documents beer from all over the state, from southeast Michigan to the west side (Greenbush Brewing Co. in Sawyer, New Holland Brewing in Holland), all the way to the top of the Upper Peninsula (Black Rocks Brewery and Ore Dock Brewing Company in Marquette).

The first stop on The Michigan Beer Film tour was in Kalamazoo on September 14, and the screening was a roaring success. Over 800 eager beer lovers showed up for the premiere, wrapping around the block just to get a good seat.

“There was, what felt like, non-stop cheering throughout the film, which was kind of annoying to some fans, but as a filmmaker, I figured, ‘What better response could I ask for?’ so I just sat back and enjoyed it,” Romeo said.

Those cheers come from a place of pride, for both Michigan and local craft beer, and Romeo is incredibly thankful to be part of a film that is so well received by its audience.

“In addition, I want people to see just how much design, work and sweat goes into the beer they drink. And hopefully they are more thoughtful about the beer they drink,” Romeo said. “There are definitely some jabs thrown at ‘big beer’ in the film. The ‘buy local’ movement is very evident throughout the film.”

Not only does the film encourage buying local, but listening local as well—the soundtrack features music by several Michigan bands and artists, including The Crane Wives, Delilah DeWylde & the Lost Boys, The Moxie Strings, and more.

Sawyer’s Greenbush Brewing Company is near and dear to Romeo’s heart, and is his favorite brewery in Michigan. But, like most craft beer lovers, he can’t leave several others off the list, citing Dark Horse Brewing Co. in Marshall and Short’s Brewing Company in Bellaire as additional beloved brew masters.

“Joe Short, founder of Short’s Brewing, says it best in the film, ‘The state itself is awesome, it’s surrounded by fresh water, and if there was a place where you wanted a bunch of breweries to congregate, Michigan is it. It’s made up of a lot of talented characters who, for whatever reason, are really good at making beer,’” Romeo said.

In addition to the tour, The Michigan Beer Film is slated for DVD release on Thursday, November 21. You can purchase the DVD on The Michigan Beer Film’s official website, along with additional merchandise, including posters, t-shirts and stickers.

Tickets for the screening at The Fillmore cost $10 in advance ($15 at the door) and can be purchased via Ticketmaster and Live Nation. The screening will, of course, incorporate craft beer on tap, including Short’s Huma-Lupa-Licious and Soft Parade, Green Bush’s Anger Black IPA and Distorter Porter, Kuhnhenn’s DRIPA and Loonie Kuhnie, and many more.

“I think Michigan is ready to work hard at something great, and we’re finding it in beer,” Romeo said. “It’s like ‘roll-up-your-sleeves’ time.”

For more information on The Michigan Beer Film, visit the film’s official website and Facebook page. You can also check out the trailer at vimeo.com.