Nate Kresge and his team at Harrisburg-based GK Visual know a thing or two about the beer industry in Pennsylvania. The media company, which creates everything from commercials to documentaries, released its latest film, “Poured in PA,” following two years of production, editing and trekking across the state to interview and showcase more than 50 Pennsylvania breweries, including two in Centre County.
“We’re fortunate in Pennsylvania that we’re No. 1 in beer production out of all 50 states,” said Kresge, executive producer at GK Visual, LLC. “We’re in a unique (growth) period right now. I think last year we had around 300 breweries; this year we’re probably going to hit 400 breweries.”
After releasing a project focused just on Harrisburg-area breweries, Kresge says he wanted to extend the passion project further, touching on the industry across the entire state. The result is a 90-minute documentary that strives to capture the scope of brewing and beer as it’s impacted the Keystone State. From home brewers to Yuengling, Erie to Eastern Pennsylvania, the documentary represents producers ranging in size and spread across a huge geographic area. In Centre County, Otto’s Pub & Brewery in State College and Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks in Millheim are featured.
The project proves that the diversity among Pennsylvania’s brewers is clear, but there are a few things they all seem to still have in common.
Kresge points to the generous, community-centric mentality he witnessed during filming.
“If (a brewer) runs out of a bag of hops or a bag of grain, they can borrow it from (another) and return it later,” he said. “(Brewers) are there to lift each other up. You don’t see that often in other industries.”
A lot of breweries are also revitalizing small towns, Kresge said.
“You open up a brewery and people are attracted to the downtown again. These are meeting spaces, these are jobs. And it’s not just the breweries themselves; they’re impacting other industries,” he said. “There are hop farms sprouting up here and there ... packaging and canning lines, that sort of thing.”
One of the most unique breweries Kresge says he visited while working on “Poured in PA”? Sprague Farm & Brew Works in Venango. The brewery operates out of a reclaimed dairy barn on 65 acres, is crawling with resident cats and boasts many interesting draws, such as a bar created from ship masts, a pavilion in the midst of a historic hickory grove and a rent-able farmhouse.
Kresge said response to the documentary has been “really great, really positive.” Whether or not a viewer is a beer fan, he notes, all seem to love the passion and drive reflected in the various brewers’ stories.
You can currently watch “Poured in PA” on Amazon Prime. Later in the summer, GK Visual plans to launch a “Poured in PA” series, also available on Amazon Prime and possibly elsewhere online.
“It will be very similar in style to what the film is, and then beyond that, we’ll be able to move a little quicker and tell more stories as opposed to just one big film,” Kresge said. Fans can expect 30–45-minute episodes.