Beer City docu-series launches fundraiser

Production still from the pilot episode of "Beer City, USA" filmed at Founder's Brewing Company, March 1. 2023. Photo courtesy of Manitou Films.

A local filmmaker is looking for crowdfunding donations for a documentary series that celebrates the culture and history of West Michigan’s beer industry. When completed, the pilot episode will be submitted to major film festivals, in hopes to secure domestic and international distribution on a major streaming service.

Keith Patterson of Manitou Films is the creative mind behind the endeavor. Originally from Grand Rapids, Patterson spent 15 years as a producer and post-production supervisor on scripted television in Los Angeles before returning to his hometown. He premiered the trailer for his series today (Monday, Oct. 9, 2023) at an Economic Club of Grand Rapids event that took place at the JW Marriott in downtown Grand Rapids.

“We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to publicly premiere our trailer for the first time at the Econ Club’s Beer City, USA luncheon,” said Keith Patterson, director and executive producer at Manitou Films. About 500 people were in attendance. According to Patterson the trailer for the documentary was “very, very well received.”

Filming has been underway since January of 2023, with an estimated completion date of January 2025 for the independent documentary television series.

A goal of the series is to preserve Grand Rapids beer history and to promote beer tourism in West Michigan to a nationwide audience.

The series will capture how the greater Grand Rapids area has earned the brand of Beer City, USA by taking the audience on a journey to Founders, Bell’s, New Holland, Short’s, and dozens of other local craft breweries and taprooms in West Michigan, as well as local home brewing clubs, major beer festivals and Grand Rapids Community College’s craft brewing program.

Patterson also wants to support the industry in his home town. “A lot of the smaller craft breweries are still hurting from Covid. We just want to remind people to support their neighborhood craft brewry. Another reason to make this was to shine a light on the industry and to bring the story to a nationwide audience by introducing them to colorful characters who make up the local craft beer industry, people with heartfelt Midwestern values,” he said.

“This documentary is a love letter to my hometown. The history and culture of our city’s brewing industry is a story that deserves to be told,” Patterson said. “And once they see the film, Grand Rapids beer will never taste the same again.”

Manitou Films is seeking new corporate sponsorships and has launched a public crowdfunding campaign through the platform, “Indiegogo,” to raise the additional funding needed to complete the series.

Current sponsors of “Beer City, USA” include Experience Grand Rapids, the Beer City Brewers Guild, the Grand Rapids Public Museum, and The Mitten State. Stay tuned for five more in the coming weeks. For corporate sponsorship info, visit.




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