I was going to write this post about the top 5 most important people in reviving craft beer but the number one was so obvious that I felt that he was owed his own blog post.
So here is to you Michael Jackson!
1942 to 2007
Michael Jackson was a journalist who focused on bringing the complexities of beer to people. He developed his love of whiskey in Edinburgh where he worked as a journo. On his return to England he started to work on writing about beer despite people telling him that he should be writing about his other great passion, rugby League because no one was starting craft breweries let alone searching them out and writing about them in the 1970’s. Still undaunted he started touring the world and in 1977 he got his book, The World Guide to Beer published. It was the first time beer had been written up and it consolidated and helped some of the little known beer styles of Europe surge in popularity against the market dominating lager. From his trips around Europe, especially Belgium, the Beer Hunter TV series was born. The show showed Michael travelling Europe and the U.S.A. in search of good beer.
One of the best qualities that Michael always brought to beer was the idea that beer is a cultural creation and reflects the tastes and innovation of people. He brought beer to the forefront, gave it a respected voice and indeed gave people the opportunity to reflect and involve themselves in the enjoyment of quality beer. He did this not only through his writing and television shows but also through the only beer club he ever endorsed, The Michael Jackson Rare Beer Club.
The Godfather of craft brewing suffered a heart attack in 2006 and it was then discovered by his friends that Michael had been fighting a secret battle with Parkinson’s disease for the last decade. The news of this shocked the brewing community but with Jackson everything stayed in perspective and he started to write his last book, “I’m Not Drunk,” an account of how he dealt with his Parkinson’s while being a famous drinks writer which was unfinished when he suffered another heart attack on the 30th of August 2007.
He leaves behind a legacy of beer appreciation, writing and breweries which have been inspired to produce quality beer for people who appreciate it.
Recently footage that breweries and producers from the Beer Hunter tv show have been working to put together the film, “Beer Hunter: The Movie” to tell Michael Jackson’s story. Yet they still need to raise money for the film so if you want to see yourself in the credits of a film or more head to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wandermedia/beer-hunter-the-movie and pledge, I have! Profits from the film are going to be donated to an organisation dedicated to eradicating Parkinson’s disease.
So in parting his name really is Michael Jackson, but he doesn’t sing, he doesn’t dance, and he doesn’t drink Pepsi but he did create a better world for everyone who enjoys beer.
A Votre Sante Michael!
Michael Jackson’s select bibliography (In addition to this he has written numerous articles)
- Jackson, Michael (1976). The English Pub
- Jackson, Michael (1977). The World Guide to Beer
- Jackson, Michael (1986). Pocket Guide to Beer
- Jackson, Michael (1987). The World Guide to Whisky
- Jackson, Michael (1988). New World Guide to Beer (Updated)
- Jackson, Michael (1991). Michael Jackson’s Great Beers of Belgium
- Jackson, Michael (1997). Michael Jackson’s Beer Companion
- Jackson, Michael (1998) Ultimate Beer
- Jackson, Michael (1998) Little Book on Beer
- Jackson, Michael; Lucas, Sharon (ed.) (1999). Michael Jackson’s complete guide to Single Malt Scotch (fourth ed.). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Running Press Book Publishers.
- Jackson, Michael; Lucas, Sharon (ed.) (2000). Michael Jackson’s Great Beer Guide.
- Jackson, Michael (2001). Scotland and its Whiskies
- Jackson, Michael (2004). The Malt Whisky Companion,
- Jackson, Michael (2005). Bar and Cocktail Party Book
- Jackson, Michael (2005). Whisky