‘Locally Buzzed’ highlights

Courtesy Photo / google images
Arbor Brewing

Courtesy Photo / google images Arbor Brewing

Haley Otman

Ryan Cappelletti and Casey Loring already knew they loved Michigan, but in March they began a journey to learn to love it a whole new way.

The two friends set out with a small group of people to visit as many Michigan breweries as possible, try their craft beers, meet the brewers and film it all as they went along. “Locally Buzzed” was born.

“I wanted to go around Michigan for eight days and hit every single brewery … which is around 83,” said Cappelletti, the director and a resident of Grand Rapids. So he and Loring started talking about it, planning out the logistics and set off.

They ended up visiting more than 40 breweries, but taking in a lot more at each one than a couple of pints.

“The film is about the eight days, but it’s really more about Michigan in general,” Cappelletti said, “Michigan breweries and the Michigan economy.”

One main thing the group found while tasting and touring was how committed each brewery is to the industry as a whole.

“Brewer after brewer told us about how there isn’t competition,” said Loring, the editor. “It’s all about cooperation.”

Cappelletti mused that because many people think of craft beers as all in the same category, each brewery heavily talks up the industry and in turn all of the other breweries.

“Everyone’s trying to one-up everyone else in a really good way,” Cappelletti said, so that the craft beer can continue to survive in the face of what he calls the Big Three: Miller, Coors and Budweiser.

This cooperation creates a sense of community in all areas of Michigan. “You really can’t work alone,” he added.

The group filmed locally, travelled to Ann Arbor and even to the Upper Peninsula.

Cappelletti judged his favorite breweries by looking at which ones had the highest creativity in beer, food and facility. Some of his favorites include Dark Horse brewing, Red Jacket Brewing and White Grain Brewery in Traverse City, which even had an asparagus beer, brewed with 90 pounds of grilled asparagus.

Loring’s roommate James Metiva also took part in the brewery tour. He had not tried many craft beers before he began on the trip, but it changed his outlook.

“Take Shorts, for example,” Metiva said, with “a strawberry shortcake or a beef jerky beer, the sky is the limit … Even if you’re not a beer drinker, I think you will come away from our film with a sense of pride for our state and a sense of duty to support your local Michigan economy.”

The filmmakers are also supporting the local economy, Loring said, by trying to plan many showings around the state at local theatres before they release the DVD of the documentary. When it is released, though, it will include additional scenes so viewers can see the entire interviews with brewers and more.

To learn more about “Locally Buzzed,” visit http://www.locallybuzzed.com. The film will be shown Friday at the Wealthy Theatre in downtown Grand Rapids, and from open to close the Meanwhile Bar will offer Michigan brews for $1 off. ArtPrize is next on the horizon for “Locally Buzzed,” where it will be played on loop at the Hopcat downtown.

Cappelletti said, “There is hope … and there (are) a lot of really cool things happening, not just in the beer world.”

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