It was a Sunday back in 2006 and I needed beer for a family picnic. Since I live in Pennsylvania, there were no beer distributors open because, as I mentioned, it was Sunday. Since I turned 21 (and, let’s be honest, even before then…it was just trickier), I had always planned for this contingency and built my beer stockpile on Saturday. Unbeknownst to me, Saturday was also going to be a shit show…and we drank through said stockpile.
So now I’m on a wild goose chase trying to find anything fermented and cold for Sunday’s festivities in my small little town of Bradford. You have to have grown up here to understand completely. Most bars? Closed. Distributors? Closed on Sunday by law. Bottle shops? Pretty much non-existent. Beer in grocery stores? Laughing emoji x 1,000.
The early afternoon was spent trying to find someone, anyone, who could deliver something I could enjoy. And finally, as if stumbling upon the holy grail itself…I found an open bar…that was willing to sell me two six packs of Miller Lite…
For $28 a piece.
Like I was at the friggin’ airport or something. Absolutely ludicrous. Did they think I was out of my mind?!
So I got out my debit card to pay and they looked at me like I was nuts. Oh, not because I was about to spend $56. Because they only took cash. OF COURSE!
You’d think the drive to the nearest ATM machine would’ve given me enough time to realize what a horrible mistake I was about to make. And it did.
I only bought one six-pack. And shared with no one.
It used to be tough for beer drinkers in Pennsylvania. At least if you didn’t plan properly. But thankfully, time and beer evolution have been very kind to us constituents of The Keystone State. Laws are much more lax now. Bars, distributors, and breweries all have Sunday hours. Bottle shops are a real thing and a damn good thing at that. Beer is readily available in grocery stores. In other words: if you can’t find a beer you love, you’re looking in all the wrong places.
PA has gone from a Commonwealth that was asking me to drop a Grant and a Hamilton after tax for two six-packs of domestic lager to one of the most recognized beer meccas in the country. A search of the Brewers Association brewery directory will result in over 400 breweries either operational or in planning within our borders. We are home to the nation’s oldest brewery in Yuengling, a company that weathered Prohibition and stood the test of time through beer’s constantly changing landscape. In addition, a recent study performed by the aforementioned Brewers Association shows that Pennsylvania leads the country in number of barrels produced per year with over 3.7 million!
I could go on and on, but the reason we are gathered here today is to let you know I don’t have to. Thanks to the folks at GK Visual, you can learn how far beer has come in Pennsylvania right from the horse’s mouth.
Poured In Pennsylvania is a documentary that covers the growth and evolution of craft beer from one side of the Commonwealth to the other. From breweries in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Meadville, Erie, Pottstown, and everywhere in between, this 1:30 film features interviews with a plethora of industry professionals, all battling to make craft beer dominant in the face of big beer opposition and bring you and I the most quality product imaginable within the 46,055 square miles that makes up Pennsylvania.
Poured In PA delivers a microcosm of the craft beer universe in the setting of one state. Or Commonwealth. You know the drill. As a beer enthusiast, you’ll be treated to faces you find familiar telling the story of beer’s progression over time, how small breweries can now find footing in an ultra-competitive landscape, the dangers of ‘big beer’ infiltrating supply chains and making it harder for smaller breweries to compete, and, of course, how PA breweries are responding to the haze craze of New England IPAs.
I also have to point out: it was a treat (a privilege, if you will) to have the sexy mug of Zack Morrow, Co-Owner and Head Brewer at Noble Stein Brewing in Indiana, PA, gracing my television screen at 9:30 on a Saturday morning. See Zack, I told you I’d work that in somehow…
By this point, if you’re not convinced you need to check this flick out and get closer to the story of beer from here, check out this trailer:
I’d like to give a shout out to the creators of Poured In PA, who I had the privilege of meeting while they were working on this project. Sara, Nate, and crew…you guys did an excellent job! Let me know when you’re planning the sequel… 🙂
And, to all the breweries who came together to make this documentary happen and the people who run said breweries who were part of this film that I’ve had the honor of knowing and working with over the past several years in some way, shape, or form: Spoonwood, Levity, Noble Stein, Brew Gentlemen, East End, Voodoo, and Dancing Gnome – THANK YOU for everything you do to make PA’s craft beer scene outstanding. It’s hard to encapsulate in words what you do to make this culture tick and I proved that by leading this piece off talking about a search for expensive Miller Lite. Keeping doing what you do, don’t ever stop, and we all promise to never, ever stop drinking.