Short film about rescued Glasgow beer festival's charity work to debut this month

An independent film maker has created a short film documenting the story behind the rescue of a beer festival in Glasgow and the charity work that sprung from the efforts of the revamped event's organisers.

Published 12th Mar 2018
Updated 12 th Mar 2018

Beer Makes Glasgow was launched in August last year in a bid to help the city's beer fans after the collapse of the Great Scottish Beer Celebration in the wake of Hippo Beers Ltd going into liquidation.


The event was the brainchild of the the brewers and people involved in the Glasgow beer scene, who decided to take it upon themselves to attempt to rebrand and save the doomed festival and provide a way to ensure the many tickets already sold to the public didn't go to waste.

Eventually going ahead on the 25th and 26th of August at the Glasgow School of Art, it was decided that the new event should have charity at the heart of its offering with all ticket profits donated to the Drumchapel foodbank and all the previously sold tickets for the original event remaining valid.

Beer Makes Glasgow

The Drumchapel Foodbank. Picture: BMG

Thanks to the generosity of the organisers and the popularity of the revamped event over £2000 was raised for the foodbank.

Freelance videographer Guy Thomson has created a short film documenting the story behind the festival and the excellent work being done by Drumchapel foodbank featuring interviews with a wide range of contributors including Liz and Ryan McGeady of Drumchapel foodbank; Jehad Hatu of Grunting Growler; Darren Loki McGarvey, author of Poverty Safari; Jake Griffin of Up Front Brewing, Sam Corden of Drygate and Conor McGeady of the West End Beer Festival.

The film is set to debut on Sunday 18th of March at Drygate Brewery in Glasgow's east end.  Along with access to the upstairs bar and the film contributors in attendance, the organisers are also hoping to encourage people to take part in an informal discussion on the night with regard to the issues raised in the film.

Conor McGeady explained that the plan on the evening of the showing is to allow guests to donate money towards the foodbank and that there will be some intriguing guest beers on offer to those who attend.

Beer Makes Glasgow

Organiser Conor McGeady. Picture: BMG

Reflecting on the festival, Conor said: "The closure of Hippo beers and with that their bar, distribution co and, as everyone expected, their festival too, came about just shortly after my West End Beer Festival. It was certainly a huge shock to me and all of my friends in the trade.

"Days after the announcement I was contacted by Jake Griffin of Up Front and asked if I would be interested in helping orchestrate the organisation of a revamped festival that would take place of the Great Scottish Beer Celebration.

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"He had spoken to a few of the key breweries involved with GSBC and they figured they could really make a go of it. Aside from being truly flattered that they turned to me for help, I was firmly in agreement that the festival was just way too important to the Glasgow beer community to let it fall away.

Beer Makes Glasgow

Brewer Jake Griffin. Picture: BMG

"It was decided from the start that the resurrected event was going to be in aid of charity.

"The main aims were to make it happen without a disruption to the venue, the already purchased tickets, the line up and of course to do it all for charity.

"At first, it seemed almost impossible, but everyone was so keen that at the same time it seemed impossible that it wouldn't work.

"Both my Mum and younger brother work full time running Drumchapel foodbank and I really pushed for them to be our chosen charity. Having volunteered with them myself I have seen what fantastic work they do, I knew how important it was to help them.

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"The festival was such a huge success, given the time we had to put it all together. We had always spoke about continuing this year but I really feel like Guy's work, time and effort that has went in to the documentary has been the driving force behind that in recent months.

"I can't wait for the showing and to be able to see his hard work pay off, thank him and of course reveal our dates and new venue for this year! Hopefully this is just the beginning of BMG."

Conor and his fellow organisers were quick to heap praise on Guy for his excellent work with the short film, he added: "We would like to emphasise that we are grateful that Guy has taken the time to do this and help spread the word about BMG.

"I think he is part of the driving force that is going to turn this from a one off thrown together event in to a landmark in the Glasgow beer calendar that will hopefully be able to do a lot more for local charities."

Film maker Guy said the inspiration to create the film came when Conor told him what had happened to The Great Scottish Beer Celebration while the pair were filming a promo for the Westend Beer Festival, he said:  "I asked Conor about what was happening and he told me there was a plan to salvage it and do it for the Food bank.

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"I immediately thought there was a story arc forming and that it would make a great mini documentary so I came up with rough concept and pitched it to brewers.

"They were all really keen so that was that. Food banks were also featuring in the news a lot at the time. I figured it was something relevant that people cared about, and I should try and do what I could to raise some exposure to the important work that goes on behind the scenes by all the volunteers that work there.

"Everyone involved has been great to work with and they have all been really keen to help make the film a success."

Those attending the special showing can also expect to learn more details about this year's festival.


Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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