A Toast to Michael Jackson
Today we remember Michael Jackson. No, not the king of pop. This is a beer blog people! I’m talking about The Beer Hunter and writer, Michael Jackson! The man was a legend and pioneer in the world of beer and if he were still with us today, he’d be celebrating his 70th birthday.
Michael Jackson shed a light on the world of beer in 1977, when he published, The World Guide To Beer. He spent most of his life traveling the world in search of great beer and whisky, visiting breweries, meeting brewers, reviewing beers and writing books. I carried a copy of his Great Beers of Belgium book all over that little country when my wife and I visited a few years ago. Without it, we would have been lost and missed out on a lot of special beers.
In 1993, he hosted a popular TV show on The Discovery Channel, appropriately called The Beer Hunter. It’s pretty amazing to think that one person was able to visit so many breweries, try so many unique beers and share his passion with people all over the world. He’s a big reason why the craft beer industry is so successful today. Without him, we might be swirling wine right now. Yikes!
Michael Jackson went on to start the Michael Jackson Rare Beer Club, which is still going strong. He even has his own line of glassware. I was fortunate enough to meet him at the Great American Beer Festival a few years ago and was admittedly a bit star struck at the time. In 2007, the beer world was turned upside down when he died suddenly from a heart attack.
Five years later, you don’t have to look far to be reminded of his legacy and all that he did to advance, promote and educate people about craft beer. I see it around my house on the bookshelf, hanging over the convention center floor during GABF and most of all in the great beers I’ve come to know and love.
There’s a documentary in the works about Michael Jackson that will hopefully introduce him to a whole new generation of beer nerds. Click HERE to stay up to date on the project.
In the meantime, remember Michael Jackson tonight. Raise a glass and salute the man who helped make the beer world what it is today. Cheers!