“I have probably heard how to brew about a hundred and ten times, but the way they tell me, you can tell by talking to them, it’s super passionate,” said Dustin Hall of the 110 brewers and breweries he’s photographed for The Brewtography Project.
Hall has been taking photographs of local breweries as a hobby for the past year, and with the urging of a few of them, he will be putting together a book of the images and stories through Kickstarter early next year. It’s no surprise the Colorado resident of three years made breweries and their passionate personnel the subject of his latest project. Although he’s probably described the project hundreds of times, he is no less enthusiastic when recounting how it began and the experiences he’s had along the way. He’s picked up a few paying gigs since starting, including product work and shoots for the Brewer’s Association, but he still doesn’t charge breweries to use his images either as wall art or promotional pieces.
“For me, I just really love this industry and it’s been really good to me”
“For me, I just really love this industry and it’s been really good to me,” said Hall.
Hall has been an amateur photographer for about 12 years, as well as an avid rock climber. After befriending fellow rock-climbers, who also happened to work at Hogshead Brewery, he started his foray into the craft beer world. “After starting to tour the breweries around town I found that, although there are a lot of them, they all had very unique personalities,” said Hall.
He was initially drawn to the stark beauty of metal and wood in the brewing facilities, but was hooked once he began to talk to the people who worked there. “If you look at the first 10 or so breweries I photographed there’s no people in them. But what I found out quickly is it wasn’t really the equipment or the aesthetics of the environment that made it what it is, it was the people working there, so I really started falling in love with that,” Hall recounted.
“But what I found out quickly is it wasn’t really the equipment or the aesthetics of the environment that made it what it is, it was the people working there.”
Hall might have continued to take photographs as a hobby, but his subjects recognized a larger potential. “The book thing was not something that was on my radar at all,” Hall said, still appearing shocked and humbled at the popularity the project has garnered. Laws Whiskey House distiller, Jake Norris, and Wit’s End Brewing founder, Scott Witsoe, both provided the initial encouragement. Hall says they reminded him that he was being given a very unique opportunity, especially since many of the areas he was getting access to were normally closed to the public. These were not only images people needed to see, but ones that did justice to the people behind-the-scenes in breweries.
“I’m there for eight hours. You can’t go into a brewery and shoot for a couple hours and expect to document the day in the life a brewery.”
With his convivial personality and ardent enthusiasm about the industry it’s no wonder Hall has yet to be turned away. “Not only do I want to present the images that I think are my best but I want you, as a brewery, to feel as though your best is represented,” Hall explained of how he approaches breweries.
Not only that, but Hall spends the entire day in the facility, not just the amount of time it would take to tour the building. “I’m there for eight hours. You can’t go into a brewery and shoot for a couple hours and expect to document the day in the life a brewery,” said Hall. He credits this full-day commitment to the exposure he’s given, as the breweries and workers can appreciate his devotion to truly documenting their lives. This had led to more than just great pictures as Hall mentioned a few of the stories he’s received along the way, several of which will be included in the book.
“I’ve gotten some really amazing stories from the breweries. I want it to be a book that not only someone not in the industry is going to like, but also for the beer geeks and the people in the industry. I don’t want it to bore anyone,” Hall reiterated.
Hall described one particular anecdote he learned while shooting at Boulder Beer: “One of the stories is how Boulder Beer started on a goat farm. They [the brewers] were drinking all the beer, so what they did was put the bottle openers around the goats’ necks so you had to chase down a goat in order to have a beer!” laughed Hall.
The Kickstarter for the book is scheduled for April 2016, with the book set to start printing a few months later. The initial goal is $10,000 for a 100-page 11″ x 13″ coffee table book, with an additional 20 pages added for every $5,000 above the minimum funding. Hall said all inquiries about the Kickstarter and his current portfolio can be found on his website at brewtographyproject.com.
All photos by Dustin Hall. To discover more breweries, check out his interactive map here.