Beer Green Place: On Beer Makes Glasgow

Beer Makes Glasgow took the collapse of a beer festival and turned it into a charity success, and now a new mini-documentary tells the story of how it all came to be

Feature by Peter Simpson | 12 Mar 2018
  • Beer Makes Glasgow

The story of the Beer Makes Glasgow festival is a prime example of making the best of a bad situation. The festival came about in the wake of the demise of Hippo Beers back in 2017; the shop and taproom’s collapse took with it the annual Great Scottish Beer Celebration festival, leaving a host of breweries and beer-lovers apparently up the creek.

That was until a host of movers and shakers in Glasgow’s close-knit craft beer scene came together to bring the festival back from the grave in aid of Drumchapel Food Bank, raising more than £2000 in the process. Jake Griffin of Glasgow-based brewery Up Front and Drygate’s Sam Corden took the reigns, and drafted in Conor McGeady, who runs the West End Beer Festival, to bring the project to life.

The Great Scottish Beer Celebration “was just way too important to the Glasgow beer community to let it fall away”, McGeady tells us. “I was down for it right away. It seemed almost impossible, but everyone was so keen that at the same time it seemed impossible that it wouldn't work.”

The whole story is documented in a new short film from filmmaker Guy Thomson, which screens at Drygate this month, telling the tale of last year’s events from the perspective of the breweries involved, while also shining a light on the work of food banks in the city. McGeady’s mother and brother both work with the Drumchapel Food Bank, and he tells us that his only condition when working on Beer Makes Glasgow was that the Food Bank would benefit. He says: “Having volunteered with them myself I have seen what fantastic work they do.”

The debut screening of Thomson’s film is a charity affair, with proceeds again going to the Drumchapel food bank, and the plans for this year’s BMG will also be revealed on the night. “We had always spoken about continuing this year,” says McGeady, “but I really feel like Guy’s work, time and effort that has gone into the documentary has been the driving force behind that in recent months!” If they turned a collapse in 2017 into a success, there’s no telling what the BMG team will manage in 2018.

The Beer Makes Glasgow documentary screens at Drygate on Sun 18 Mar from 7pm, followed by a panel discussion; proceeds to Drumchapel Food Bank