Yesterday, August 30th marked the fourth anniversary of the passing of Michael Jackson – ‘The Beerhunter’.
Craft brewing appears to be in a healthy state at the moment; the rate of new craft breweries opening in the US has doubled this year and some fifty new micro-breweries are reported to have opened here in the UK in the last 12 months.
It’s reasonable to credit Michael Jackson with helping kick-start the craft beer industry through his ‘World Guide to Beer’ (published 1977) and his 1989 ‘Beer Hunter’ TV series.
And that’s not just my (slightly biased) opinion; Sam Calagione (Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery) has been quoted as saying that Michael Jackson deserved a place in the beer ‘Hall of Fame’:
“for the exploration of boundaryless beers. His curiosity was as infectious as a Belgian lambic is infected.”
And to quote James Watt (one of the founders of the BrewDog brewery in Scotland):
Like everyone in the craft brewing industry we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the pioneering work Michael Jackson did in putting quality beer on the map. The impact of his writing and lecturing was to educate consumers all over the world about quality beer.
In his own words he wanted his work “to elevate the understanding, the diversity and the nobility of beer.”
His enduring legacy is that he firmly elevated the status and appreciation of beers.
So, gentleman (and ladies) I propose you charge your glasses with your favourite craft beer and raise a glass to the memory of ‘The Beer Hunter’. Were it not for him you wouldn’t be reading this, I wouldn’t be writing it, and we certainly wouldn’t have the wide choice of craft beers available to us.
And – until it gets taken down for copyright infringement – I’ve uploaded the ‘Beerhunter’ TV series to Vimeo – go and grab them while you can!
Bob the Brit