In craft beer towns across the United States, not only have the brews become a point of tourism, but an integral part of the community. In fact, some of us probably see our beertenders more than we see some of our family members. While it’s easy to get lost in a pint of a Pacific Northwest crafted brew, it’s just as easy to overlook the amount of moving parts that went into making your specific beer.
This is where Hopstories comes in, a video production company originally from Corvallis, Oregon. Hopstories focuses on telling the stories that drive the craft beer industry, letting consumers get to know the faces behind their pint. As more and more breweries see the value in having their story told to the people drinking their beer, the more familiar and appreciative people become of the craft.
Hopstories began about five years ago as a web series making documentaries about breweries that Founder and Executive producer Eric Buist and the Hopstories team found interesting.
When Sky High Brewing, a Corvallis brewery in startup mode, reached out to Hopstories, it was an opportunity to profile their first brewery and showcase what they could do for a growing business at any level by simply telling their story.
Team members at Sky High have become close industry friends of the Hopstories team, opening the door to work with other Oregon breweries like Block15 and Breakside. Hopstories has begun working within the Washington beer scene as well, making videos for Holy Mountain, Stoup and Fremont.
Currently, Hopstories is accepting applications from breweries (or cideries) to be the first to participate in their Adopt a Brewery program, where they work with a brewery for an entire year, doing more experimental video work.
“The video production industry is changing at such a crazy pace, that for us to be able to keep up with things, we have to have personal work to keep it going and inspire us to do creative things,” Buist said. “To do that, we will hopefully be partnering with one company for the year and be playing around with their brand.”
This means we could begin seeing more Hopstories on Bellingham breweries, each of which has a unique style they bring to the table and to completely different audiences.
While many of us notice the nuances from brewery to brewery stylistically, on camera, the brewing process can look similar no matter where you’re filming. This is part of the reason Buist and the Hopstories team have chosen to focus on the people behind the beer not exclusively the beer.
“One of our core principles is to not focus so much on the beer but instead on the people behind the process. Brewing a batch of beer looks pretty much the same brewery to brewery,” Buist said. “The people are what have driven our company and our passion forward. We’ve made so many friends over the past years in the industry, that if we focused exclusively on the product, we’d be missing so much of what this industry cool, unique and such an incredible place to work and spend so much time.”
In most cases, the product speaks for itself. Craft beer is a labor of love for many brewers, an not exactly a high paying industry, meaning that many are in it truly for the love of the beer.
“There’s a reason why it’s called craft beer. Even at a big production scale. There’s so much that is hand-crafted and it shows,” Buist said. “It’s a community that people have a passion for.”
Hopstories showcases just that, the passion that brewers, brewery and taphouse owners and managers, beertenders, and consumers have for the craft beer industry.
For those of you wanting to keep up with Hopstories as they expand their work throughout the Pacific Northwest, you can find their material on Instagram, YouTube and hopstories.com. You can find existing videos, new material from hop harvest and a Yakima hop blend benefitting veteran-owned breweries, festivals like the Great American Beer Festival, and their expansion into cider and mead.
Next time you grab a pint, remember Hopstories and their mission to familiarize the faces behind your beer.