Today we are excited to host the web premiere of a new (and hopefully ongoing) film series about Oregon beer called PINTS: Stories Behind the Beer. Produced by three Portland filmmakers: Clinton Herrick, Ryan Claypool and David Jordan, with writer Solomon Hanson. You may be familiar with some of Herrick’s work on this year’s Jim Parker Hall of Fame tribute video at the Oregon Beer Awards, and last year’s featuring John Harris.
PINTS the series is an examination of the people that make the beer and their various journeys. The filmmakers’ goal is to portray them in a compelling, narrative format and in a cinematic way. You can tell that in just this short episode, that this series shows more cinematography and gravity than most of the filmmaking we have seen about beer thus far.
With the first episode, PINTS wanted to get to the heart of how a brewery six hours out of Portland managed to gain such a foothold in Portland and become so influential. Based in Enterprise, Oregon, Terminal Gravity’s own hometown has a population of only 1,950, so a following in Portland seems integral to the company’s growth and the fact that they have now been around 22 years.
“We spent a week out there with the great people of Enterprise and Joseph and came back with a new appreciation and respect for a brewery that we had already held in high regard,” said Clinton Herrick.
Herrick, in a way, brought the team together on this collaborative project, being the common thread between them. Ryan Claypool met Herrick at an Oregon Media Production Association event where they discussed filmmaking and homebrewing before the idea of a documentary about breweries came up. Producer David Jordan met Herrick at a video production company and they bonded over Mario Kart and editing techniques. And, Co-producer Solomon Hanson and Herrick have known each other since childhood.
Q: What are each of your backgrounds?
CH – I’ve been interested in filmmaking since middle school, where would regularly film skate videos. I was lucky enough to pursue video professionally 3 years ago with Searle Video. I have since pursued my own video ventures with the craft beer world in my sights.
RC – My background is in filmmaking and producing/shooting TV shows for different networks.
SH – Writing’s had my attention since I was young. Most recently, I worked as a journalist for a smaller online agency and later at an outdoor company writing about gear. Telling stories these days is what interests me most, whether through print or film, whether they’re true stories or fiction.
DJ – My dad took me to see ‘Gladiator’ for my tenth birthday, which was my first rated R movie. I was completely transported and started making videos as a kid. I’ve been doing it professionally since 2010 and am in the second year of running my own business.
Q: Are you all craft beer fans and, if so, what are some of your favorite beers and most influential breweries?
Clinton Herrick – The TG IPA was my introduction to IPAs and really opened my eyes to the world of craft brewing when I turned 21. The Gigantic IPA has a special place in my heart. Great Notion and Breakside always come to mind when talking favorites. Tugboat will live on in my heart forever…but that’s another story.
Ryan Claypool – I’m a big fan of craft beer. Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale is my recent favorite, but most everything Wayfinder makes is a close second. Wayfinder’s Terrifico Horror Pils is mind-blowing-good.
Solomon Hanson – Ryan’s the home brewer, so I’d say he’s probably the craftiest, but I definitely dig that we live in a beer-centric region too. I think having so much to choose from and try is what I enjoy most. That said, Ecliptic and Gigantic come to mind and, after hearing the name so often at this year’s beer awards, Breakside’s gonna get another visit from me soon.
David Jordan – I don’t typically drink beer, so my experience for a long time was pretty much limited to McMenamins brews. That’s changing as we all meet to discuss this project and I’m introduced to new styles.
Q: How did this project come about and what is the goal with it?
CH – Around 2 years ago that I was watching the show Abstract (Netflix) while drinking a Gigantic IPA and got to thinking that it would be great to do a deeper dive on the art and story behind the beer. I’ve always been interested in the backstories, I don’t care how the sausage is made, I want to know why that person started making sausage to begin with.
It would be great to see PINTS next to Abstract on the Netflix menu someday.
RC – The long-term goal for PINTS is to eventually connect the dots on how the craft brewing revolution happened, why it happened where it did and to stay focused on the personal stories that influence(d) it all. We think this series would do well on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc… as the short doc-series trend continues proving itself in the internet TV arena.
SH – Again, Clinton came up with PINTS and he’s been running point since the beginning. It’s all sort of in the name: stories behind the beer. He had this idea (that we were all into) of showing the folks behind iconic or influential beers and telling those origin stories. I guess that makes us beer bards. And that’s really the goal – to keep telling these people’s stories (and share some drinks along the way).
DJ – I didn’t really understand the scope of what Clinton, Ryan, and Sol were doing with PINTS until after I started editing and watching through the footage and interviews they captured out in Enterprise with TG. There’s a real cinematic tone to the imagery and the interviews aren’t simply about making beer, they’re very emotional. That’s certainly going to be a goal going forward—to keep focusing on why beer is made because the answer can be more complex than you’d think.
Q: What are you most excited about covering in future episodes?
CH – I’m excited to meet more of the great people in this industry and find the stories that have made this industry what it is. We are currently in pre-production talks with our next pillar in the beer community and I’m extremely excited to get the story out to everyone.
RC – For future episodes? I’m excited to work with another Oregon legend.
SH – Egypt. Or ancient Sumeria. Word is that the Egyptian god Osiris taught folks how to brew. Word also is that the ancient Sumerians invented the straw (RIP sea turtles) just to drink beer. So I’d say I’m pretty excited about a patio session with ol’ Osiris while we drink cold ones through straws, getting tan and talking about life before he goes back to work as Judge of the Dead.
DJ –Craft beer, in particular, seems to draw individuals who have come to that industry from some interesting places, so its their stories I’m most excited to hear. We want to make the story as human and relatable as possible, rather than just a documentary on making beer (because there are already plenty of those). It’s uncovering those surprising stories that haven’t yet been told that excites me most.
Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding.