Dustin Hall, a Colorado-based photographer, has been honing his skillful eye for the past fourteen years with a broad scope of subjects that range from skateboarding to astrophotography. Yet, five years ago when Hall and his wife, Marcia Hall, moved from Miami to the Denver-area, he was able to find a new, intriguing platform that he feels compelled to capture and shares in his new book “Discovering Colorado Breweries: The Brewtography Project.”
“I fell in love with the aesthetics of the breweries and realized that they are all very different,” says Hall. “The look, the atmosphere, the culture of the industry, it’s really about the people.”
Hall began taking environmental, wide-field shots of breweries before exploring more intimate angles with tight, close-ups that highlight those behind the scenes in an attempt to showcase “all the hard work that they do to get that beer in front of people.” From there, Hall chuckles as he describes how “it spiraled out of control a little bit, which is awesome.”
Hall says he routinely posted images on his personal Facebook page and that “people seem to attach to them” spurring him to create a public space which he aptly named “The Brewtography Project.”
“I keep reaching out to breweries and asking if I can come take photos and no one ever says no,” says Hall.
Hall calls his photography just “a hobby” as he works full-time as a computer engineer which he says gives him ample flexibility to attend early morning brewing sessions.
“When I started it was just because my day is very analytical,” says Hall. “I always like to have fun outlets so photography has always been that.”
After a consistent stream of positive comments from the likes of Scott Witsoe, owner of Wits End Brewing Company, that claims no one documents the industry the way he does, it led Hall to pursue a more organized and formal collection of his images bound between two covers.
In October 2015, during Great American Beer Festival, Hall decided to launch his first Kickstarter campaign, which he says was haphazardly planned in the hopes to attract interest from the large crowd. The end result was not satisfactory, according to Hall, raising between $15,000 and $16,000, and feels that their efforts “got kind of lost” in the noise that surrounds the massive event.
In June 2016, Hall chose to try again this time teaming up with local artisans, Hops & Pie and Tony’s Market, to create unique events that could garner more community attention. The secondary effort exceeded Hall’s funding goals in less than eight hours, compared to the typical 30-day time-frame, generating a total of $37,994, with the help of 314 contributors.
“We wanted to raise more money to make it a larger book,” says Hall simply. Who was able to extend the initial plan of 100 pages into a 232 page, hard-bound, coffee table book. “It came out well due to the tremendous amount of support.”
On January 20, 2018, the 1,000 print run, self-published book “Discovering Colorado Breweries: The Brewtography Project” became available in over a dozen taprooms across Colorado and online (for out-of-state consumers) for $49.99. It features 74 breweries with 222 full page, full bleed photographs of the places and the people that enrich the craft beer industry. Kickstarter contributors were able to receive an automatic copy and Hall says that they have already sold more than half of their inventory, with approximately 300 left in stock.
Hall prides himself in knowing that all the breweries in the book were able to sign off on the photos and that copies are in possession at the Library of Congress and in the Denver Public Library system. Hall encourages photography and beer-lovers alike to visit the participating locations to experience the versatility and ambiance that ignites and manifests itself through his artistic point of view.
“I want this book to be a catalyst for people to go check out these breweries,” says Hall. “And what better way than to make them have to go?”
*Header photo credit: The Brewtography Project