March 12, 2012

Interview: Thomas Kolicko, Director of Crafting a nation (part 1)

A few weeks back Thomas Kolicko was kind enough to grant me an interview to talk about his latest project Crafting A Nation. Tom also directed the film Beer Culture an expose on how craft brewing embodies the american dream. I want to extend a big thank you to Tom for taking the time to be interviewed.

HBC:  What’s Crafting a nation about?
Tom: Crafting a nation is a feature length documentary about how the American craft brewers are building the economy one beer at a time. After Beer Culture the movie came out the biggest criticism we received was “why was it only Colorado?”  so after thinking about it for awhile we were at Oskar Blues we were about to do a screening of Beer Culture and we said “lets do a national version”. We understand the story, we know the story the best and I think we can tell it the best and if we don’t do it somebody else will.
 Crafting a nation evolved out of there its come down to more of a social cause kind of project, we going to have a very interactive website that backs up everything about the film. You can find more about other breweries; start up businesses and webisodes, business profiles. All types of features that back up the film and support the films message.
HBC: What breweries did you visit?
Tom: For Crafting a nation we just got back from Texas and Saint Louis. We also are following a couple breweries here in Colorado, our main characters are here in Colorado as well. Beer Culture was more of a multi character expose figuring out there is beer culture and why people are supporting it. Crafting A Nation does that to a certain extent but heightens what we initially set out to do with Beer Culture. This ones going to be more character driven, were following three main story lines right now.
In terms of breweries we’ll start with Texas. There’s freetail brewing company, north by northwest, jester king, thirsty planet, there’s so many… Austin beer works, hops and grain. In Saint Louis there’s schlafly, four hens, urban chestnut, perennial and, civil life… I think I got them all. And then out here in Colorado were going to be following a couple brewers that have not opened yet there expected to open within the next month to two months. That’s the cool thing, most of the breweries were going to be talking to have been open for less than three years. Were really trying to focus on how these businesses are growing, why they’re being founded and just showing the economic benefits of craft beer in America.
HBC: Do you have any favorites?
Tom: We definitely have our main characters. We have been in research and development since August trying to hone in on who our main characters are going to be. We narrowed it down by region, in terms of characters we have Scott Metzger of freetail brewing company; I think he still is an economics professor and full time brewer/owner of freetail brewing company. Then Ron Extract from jester king, a cool experience, really revolutionary beer.
On the beer side perennial in St. Louis, artisan ales they have a cool story. I cant talk to much about our main characters I can say that there our main characters for a reason, they are all young, most of the this them is their first big business venture. Its cool to see the amount of spirit these guys have to go out into the world now with the economic times the way they are and try to pursue their dreams and passion.
HBC: You guys had a kickstarter fund, was that always part of the plan?
Tom:  Were independent so funding is whatever we can get. Without going into too much detail we have hit a little snag with our funding, were planning to over come that. This film is going to be made regardless were going to knock on every door once if not twice to try to get this thing funded. We have really cool and kind sponsors.
For the film we have raised about 25%. Kickstarter was always part of the plan because it’s a really cool platform where people can get involved with the project, that’s exactly what crafting is. I want to give back to the people that inspired me to make this film.
Its not cheap, we have a really tight knit crew. When you think film crew you think a lot of people, but it’s a couple guys. I recently had to expand, Beer Culture was originally made with five core people and I recently had to add three more.
HBC: So Crafting A Nation is your full time job then?
About two months in (to beer culture) I was working a random nine-dollar per hour job and my company was founded. There was too much of a difference and I took the leap of faith and make this my full time gig. I haven’t paid myself that much yet and the crew is the same were doing this out of passion.

Look out for part two of the interview coming up soon, in the meantime check out to watch some trailers and contribute to the production of the film.  


  1. Thanks, Tom was really cool and his films are awesome. Part 2 should be up soon