Friday, March 14, 2014

CRAFT movie Director/Producer Craig Noble Interview

     I was fortunate enough to conduct an interview with Craig Noble, director and producer of the upcoming movie CRAFT. In this film Craig Noble travels around the country documenting the craft beer scene.  Below is a trailer for this movie and my interview that is sure to interest any craft beer enthusiast. 

Buffalo Theory Brewing: What inspired you to make this movie?
Craig Noble: I love Craft beer.
2 1/2 years ago I came back from an extensive working vacation in Asia and I landed in SoCal. I was either going to do a photojournalism piece on Boarder cities of the SW or do a San Diego brewery tour, I chose the latter.
After being inspired by the scene there I committed to do another feature documentary. It's been all beer all the time since.

BTB: What did you learn from making this movie about the craft beer industry that you didn't know before?
CN: Well, I got to say that I was happily surprised by the general good will within the industry as a whole and the cooperation between craft brewers is pretty special, considering how much competition there is right now. I am also taken aback by the shear growth in the industry, both in volume and number of breweries. The level of enthusiasm for brewers and consumers is amazing.

BTB: How did you choose the breweries to spotlight?
CN: It was very editorial. I wanted to get a complete spectrum of scale and style within the breweries covered, but mostly I chose these breweries for their outstanding product. I had the privilege of drinking some of the best beer on the planet the last 2 years! And when drinking that level of beer you get turned on to and poured so much more amazing brews that it really was inspiring and delicious.

BTB: What challenges did you come across in the making of the movie?
CN: I'm a one-man army, so production, logistics, post, that's all on me, so it's an incredible amount of work, and boarder-line insane. There was a lot of travel involved and a lot of ground covered so I was pretty much a gypsy most of last year.

BTB: Do you have any plans for future beer related projects (not necessarily film related)?
CN: Yes. I have taken a recipe development/brewing position with a start-up brewery in Vancouver,(my hometown) and was basically given carte blanche to design beers that I could drink a lot of, that were not available here, which is awesome. And I will be starting a more geeky bottle-conditioning program as well, which has to remain nameless at this point.

BTB: What made you choose Portland, OR as the city to premiere the movie in?
CN: I have been coming to Portland for years now, and have quite a few friends there. There are a lot of beery cities in America but when it comes to Craft beer, Portland I would say it has the most heart. The quality, number of breweries per captia and the level of support is phenomenal. Portlanders have some of the best beer and selection of anywhere in the world. Luckily for me, it's 6 hours down I5.

BTB: Was there anything that you would have liked to get into the movie that you were not able to?
CN: There are so many great brewers, breweries, scenes, cities and farmhouse breweries that it is impossible to fit them all in. There are some regions I would like to have travel to and filmed at but... there's just too much good beer!

BTB: Do you homebrew? If so how often and in what capacity?
CN: I got into homebrewing a few years ago after I produced a video series on how to make your own booze at home. I have expensive wine making experience and even do my own distilling. For my recipe development contract I build a 10 gallon three tiered system to test batch on. 2 batches per week since the beginning of November.

BTB: What was it like brewing a professional batch at Coalition Brewing?
CN: Elan and Brad are great. The brew day was flawless, and we hit all our gravities and volumes and the quality of raw ingredients were top notch. The Farmhouse Ale for Portland will be amazing. It is a little 10 bbl system with limited automation which was fun. Very crafty.

BTB: What is the story behind the first beer that got you into craft beer?
CN: I was shooting my sustainable food documentary TABLELAND and I went to Crannog Ales to shoot their organic farm brewery. I drank a lot of craft beer there, but I really must say that Brian's Backhand of God Stout is an amazing beer, and gained a full appreciation for hand crafted brews.

BTB: What is your favorite style of craft beer? Why?
CN: Depending on the weather, my mood or food... I would have to say Saison if I was only allowed one style.

BTB: What is your favorite commercial beer? Why?
CN: That’s entrapment! If I was to choose one, I will go super-classic, OG and say Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock. It’s almost a perfect beer.

You can buy tickets at the Hollywood Theater website for the world premier of CRAFT on April 3rd.  The premier will be preceded by two of Noble's previous short films.  This event will also be a beer release party for the Altered State Farmhouse Ale brewed in collaboration with Coalition Brewing in Portland durring the filming.  There will also be beer on tap from The Commons, another Portland based brewery featured in the film.  I hope to see everyone at the premier.


  1. Good interview. How did you set it up

  2. Great interview. I'm looking forward to seeing this documentary. I wonder what he does with all those test batches?


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