This Craft Nation: A Cross-Country Quest

Long-time beer and spirits professional Fred Bueltmann is taking a sabbatical this spring from his role at New Holland Brewing Company to pursue a passion project. Taking time off from his role as an owner and VP, Brand and Lifestyle, Bueltmann is diving headfirst into an immersive project to further understand and explain the cultural shift and craft renaissance our country has witnessed over the last thirty years.  Together with artist and photographer Kyle Bice, the two are traversing the country to visit makers of all kinds, across many product categories, in search of stories that will reveal deeper truths in This Craft Nation.

craft nation

The stories will come to life across several channels, including podcast episodes, blog posts and magazine articles, eventually culminating in Bueltmann’s second book, This Craft Nation. “I felt increasingly allied and aware of my philosophy around the connected lifestyle, after writing and publishing Beervangelist’s Guide to the Galaxy (2013),” Bueltmann states.  “Themes like mindfulness and collaboration grew in strength and clarity through speaking projects that followed, including at TedX and other industry keynotes.  I’m inspired to help people increase their awareness and understanding around this cultural shift, which is so much more than a sales trend. I want to invite everyone to connect more deeply with whatever interests them, wherever they are in the world.”

A freelance artist and a graduate of the American Academy of Art, Kyle will document the characters met along the way through photography and his unique style of portraits, in which he uses beer as paint. “I look forward to setting off on an adventure to record these stories with mediums old and new, to share with the world the depth, richness, and resurgence of tradition in the craft renaissance,” states Bice.

craft nationThe pair have an ambitious, twenty-plus city tour ahead, circling the country from coast to coast, intersecting with the American Distillers Institute’s annual conference (Baltimore, MD), The Brewers Association’s Craft Brewers Conference (Washington DC), and GonzoFest (Louisville, KY), an annual gathering celebrating another writer and artist duo, Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman – a pairing well known for their colorful tales from the road.

“This movement is bigger than beer, bigger than food and drink,” Bueltmann states.  “American craftspeople and artists have forged this bewildering shift, integrating old-school techniques with modern technologies, reviving traditions once on the verge of extinction.  It has inspired a massive change in how and what we value as consumers, and I’m looking forward to exploring it fully”

Fred and Kyle depart on April 2nd, 2017. To keep up with their journey, visit their website or follow @ThisCraftNation on social media.


Who is This Craft Nation?

Fred Bueltmann: aka The Beervangelist, is part owner of New Holland Brewing Company, where he serves as Vice President of Brand and Lifestyle.  He is a nationally recognized expert on pairing beer and food, and a Certified Cicerone®. Bueltmann is past president of the Michigan Brewers Guild and recipient of their prestigious “Tom Burns Award” recognizing the pioneering spirit of the “Great Beer State.” Fred serves as a judge for the Brewer’s Association’s Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup.  His first book, “Beervangelist’s Guide to the Galaxy” is a seasonal tome on pairing, cooking and hosting with craft beer, and was recognized as an Indie Book Award finalist.  Fred hosts and produces New Holland’s “Stop & Taste Conversations” podcast, and speaks to audiences large and small around the country, which has included serving as 2013 Keynote Speaker for the Michigan Restaurant Association and speaking at TedX Macatawa in 2015. @Beervangelist

Kyle Bice is a Chicago based freelance artist, specializing in illustration and fine art.  A 2002 graduate of the American Academy of Art with a BFA in painting, Kyle regularly freelances for New Holland Brewing and is the lead artist for The Monster Weekly, a blog that promotes childhood literacy.  He is the author and illustrator of A Book of Dwarves and launched, a site devoted to art and interesting interviews about people in and around the world of craft beer as well as a travel blog focusing on Kyle’s adventures as a painter with a unique medium. Kyle’s eye for composition and broad range of styles and mediums, including photography, give him the ability to adapt and capture the essence of what’s around him. @BeerPortraits



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