Danny Williams Needs Your Help

If you’re in the brewing industry, and especially if you’ve entered your beers in the Great American Beer Festival and/or the World Beer Cup, then you no doubt know Danny Williams. He’s worked with the Brewers Association at GABF for a number of years, and since 2001 has been in charge of the beer for competition judging. It’s his job to see that it arrives, is maintained under the proper conditions, and eventually makes it into the hands of the judges. Last year there were 3,930 beers judged at GABF. So it’s quite a task.

Danny Williams and a friend
Danny Williams and Lindsay Husted, also from the Brewers Association, at the World Beer Cup dinner in Chicago two years ago.

Unfortunately, Danny cannot work these days. He’s recently been diagnosed with cancer, and has cancerous legions all over his stomach and pancreas, which tragically is a type of cancer that typically has a very low survival rate. The pain he’s enduring is so great that he is simply unable to work, and he’s chosen not to attempt to treat it since the prognosis is so bleak and recovery unlikely. Danny’s decided instead to enjoy what time is left to him with his friends and family as best he can.

Danny is only 52 and has two grown kids from his first marriage. He also has an 8-year old son, Fletcher, from his most recent. As you might expect, not being able to work, having mouths to feed, and medical bills to pay, has left him in dire financial straits. At the moment, he is in danger of losing his home and the infamous “beer mine” — a former gold mine, sadly with no more riches — where he ages his beer collection. It’s even been mentioned in the New York Times. His friends and family are trying their best to make sure he can stay in his home during his remaining months and, if possible, that it can stay in his family after he’s gone. I can’t stress enough how precarious his situation really is.

His good friend, Ben Spencer — who’s the head brewer at Magnolia in San Francisco — recently went to Colorado to spend some time with Danny. Talking with Ben, I think it was rough on him seeing his friend in such a difficult situation. It’s hard for a lot of people to deal with such tragedy. I know. I went through something very similar with my own mother when I was in my early twenties. Ben reflected on seeing Danny last week and asks that you help out his friend, and your friend, as best you’re able.

Danny is a great man, and an amazing advocate of the craft brewing movement. He has affected all of us in many ways. I understand that times are tough, but please help my brother out. He needs us now.

Please donate what you can to help Danny. If you’re a brewery or other business and want to make a more substantial donation, there is a fund set up at First Bank in Boulder, Colorado under the name the “Danny Williams Fund.” Contact me or Ben Spencer for the account number and routing information. Or just post a comment below and one of us will send you the information.

To make a smaller, or really any amount, donation, we’ve set up a simple PayPal donation that’s very easy to use. Just click on the button below, fill in any amount you wish and follow the on screen instructions. Thank you.


Below are some photos of Danny enjoying life, which is how he should be remembered.

Tom Nickel (owner of O’Brien’s in San Diego), Nancy Johnson, Director of GABF and Danny at Slow Food Nation 2008 in San Francisco.

Danny in the former goldmine beer cellar.

Danny’s Angels, after a BA event.

Be an angel, too. Please donate generously to make Danny’s remaining time as comfortable, enjoyable and stress-free as possible; and help secure a future for his family after he’s gone.


Also, while I don’t usually condone plagiarism, this is a special circumstance. If you write a blog or website, feel free to take any or all of this content, text, links and photos, to help spread the word to help out Danny. The more people we can reach, the more we can help. Thanks.


  1. Diana Vann says

    If you are in the Boulder, CO area, there will be a Silent Auction and Fundraiser on Feb. 11th at Back Country Pizza (Boulder location) at 6pm. Please spread the word, try to attend and let us know if you can make a donation.

    Diana Vann

  2. says


    Thanks or bringing this to our attention. I am saddened to hear about Danny. He’s a great guy to say the least, and I don’t think most folks know about all the incredible heavy lifting Danny’s done (mentally, physically, logistically, etc.) to manage all the beer at the Great American Beer Festivals, Craft Brewers Conferences, etc., as he’d done 99% of his work behind the scenes.

    There are few people that one could say is a better friend to craft beer.

    Steve and I will be making a contribution.

    Greg Koch, CEO
    Stone Brewing Co.

  3. says

    Sad to hear. Too bad an outcry such as this doesn’t happen for everyone that is afflicted with such illness. My mother died of colorectal cancer in October after a long and ugly battle (over two years in total and the last six months were terminal) at the age of 56. She was a nurse and not able to work during those two years. My stepfather died 10 year prior of heart failure on a cycling trip. No one in our family or friends are of great means (or at least they don’t think of themselves as such) and weren’t able to help much in this kind of manner. The small amount she had in retirement and credit cards helped fill the gap from Social Security (before it kicked).

    I learned recently she could have attempted a risky surgical procedure as a last ditch effort, but she didn’t want to deal with the results the rest of her life if it worked. I think if she knew how it was going to end for her, she would have tried it. Too often we think we’ll just slip away. I dropped everything and took care of her for the last five months and the last couple were horrendous. So often these details are omitted for the sake of family and the emotional toll it takes, leaving too many people if a false sense of how it could end. I’ve seen some pretty rough stuff in the military and in general, but this was far worse than any form of human thought-up torture for the worst people that ever walked this planet. My mom had it bad financially, but I took a huge loss myself not having income the last eight months on top of having a major breakdown driving from Montana to Tennessee to take care of her. I burned through all my money and maxed out my emergency credit card (on a positive note, I did rack up a lot of points for brewing books on Amazon). I would have gave up everything if it would have meant she had a peaceful death. I just hope Danny doesn’t have a stroke/series of strokes.

    Once I have an income again, I’m donating 10% of my yearly income (more if I can spare it) to cancer/medical research from now on so other might not have to experience what my mother, Danny, and millions more have and will experience.

  4. David Mentus says


    Thank you for bringing this out to the public. As a friend of Williams family and a former Boulder County brewer I will reach out to spread the word about their situation. Danny is a great person, a craft beer advocate and is known to be full of spirit and generosity. It is time for us step up to help the Williams family save their home and show how much we appreciate Danny’s contribution to the industry.

    We would like to thank everyone who is getting involved, especially the Spencer and Brewers Association families. Our family and friends will do what we can to donate funds for this urgent cause and we hope that others will do the same.


    David Mentus

  5. Iolanthe "IO" Culjak says

    I don’t know Danny, but my younger brother (46 yrs old) was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer right after Thanksgiving 2011. The pain was almost unbearable. He was told inoperable and only 6 months to live.

    But, he started chemo, juicing organic veggies and fruit and only eating healthy and he has improved immensely. He has cut way back on pain meds and his blood cell counts are improving already after only 3 rounds of chemo. I am glad decided to fight. He too originally was not.

    He originally stopped working but now it looks like he will continue to run his pool business for now. Cancer stinks for sure. I have been sending any extra money I have to him in Florida. We definitly need more research for stomach/pancreatic cancers for sure.

    I hope for the best to Danny and his family.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>