Today would have been Danny Williams’ 54th birthday today, having been born exactly two days before yours truly in 1959. Unfortunately, Danny lost a battle with cancer a little over two years ago, and passed away peacefully in his sleep on January 23, 2012. For over a decade, Danny worked for the Brewers Association as the beer competition manager for both the Great American Beer Festival and/or the World Beer Cup. Danny left behind two grown children and an 8-year old son, Fletcher. Join me in raising a birthday beer and giving a toast to the memory of Danny Williams tonight. Danny would have wanted it that way.
Chris Black, who along with his brother, owns the Falling Rock, the best beer bar in Denver and HQ for beer people during GABF, turns 51 today. Chris is a great guy and one of a handful of Publicans across the country doing things right when it comes to beer. Join me in wishing Chris a very happy birthday.
Vinnie Cilurzo from Russian River Brewing with Chris at the Celebrator’s 18th Anniversary Party.
Today is my friend and colleague Marty Jones’ birthday, though how old the eternally young Mr. Jones may be is anybody’s guess. In addition to beer journalist, brewery rep., Marty is administrator of the Beer Drinker of the Year Contest, a musician, and much else. Join me in wishing Marty a very happy birthday.
Today is the 62nd birthday of Governor of Colorado — and former Denver mayor — John Hickenlooper. John was also the co-founder of Wynkoop Brewery in Denver’s LoDo District, and in fact is credited with helping to revitalize the whole area. After being a popular, and by all accounts very effective mayor, for several years, he was elected as the Governor of Colorado. John’s been great for Denver, Colorado and craft brewing. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.
Today is also the 43rd birthday of Erin Fay Glass, Membership Coordinator and Brewery Detective at the Brewers Association. Erin is one of my favorite people in the BA, and the whole beer community for that matter. Join me in wishing her a very happy birthday.
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning famously said a couple of weeks ago after his victory over the Chargers that all he could think of was how soon he could “get a Bud Light in [his] mouth.” It seemed like a slap in the face to pick Budweiser while being the QB in the land of Rocky Mountain spring water-made Coors. Not to mention that Colorado is one of the best beer states in America, so it’s no surprise that a number of smaller craft breweries also called him out for his choice of frosty beverage. But in subsequent interviews, Manning’s stuck to his guns, succinctly explaining the reason for his beer preference.
“My father taught me a number of things, one of which being that Bud Light is the preferred beer of the Manning household”
My only question is this. Peyton Manning is 37 years old. He’s also married with two children, and presumably no longer lives at home but has his own household. At what age did you stop doing everything your father told you? It may be true, but it seems like a bit of a cop out. I thought it was more common to eschew your father’s beer and make your own choices.
I remember a particularly enlightening conversation I eavesdropped on at GABF a number of years ago. I was walking the hall, in a hurry on my way to somewhere, when a group of at least half-a-dozen young men, presumably in their early twenties, blocked my path and forced me to slow up behind them. From just behind their slow-walking row, I could hear what they were saying as we ambled past the Sierra Nevada Brewing booth. One of the them elbowed his friend, and pointing his head toward Sierra Nevada’s booth, remarked. “Sierra Nevada; my Dad really likes that beer.” He put the emphasis on “Dad” when he said it, indicating that it wasn’t necessarily a good thing. I remembered that a while later when I was having dinner and some drinks with Ken and Brian Grossman, and mentioned what I’d overheard. They said they were fully aware of that as a growing problem, having been around long enough that they were becoming the new generation’s Dad’s beer. It’s part of the reason they began doing so many more collaborations, specialty releases and even beer camp. It’s an interesting facet of the craft beer industry as it grows and matures. How do you maintain your image while also remaining fresh to newer, younger customers? Because nobody wants to drink the same beer as their father. I know I didn’t, and don’t.
I know none of this matters and everyone is free to drink whatever the hell they want. Still, I find it fascinating to watch how certain statements play out in the media. Had Manning picked a Coors product, he would have pleased the hometown fans. Had he picked a craft beer, especially a local one, he would have made the hometown fans, and many good beer lovers, overjoyed. Instead he picked Bud Light, coincidentally the “official beer of the NFL,” so most likely the group he pleased the most was the league.
Last fall, Manning apparently bought twenty-one Papa John’s Pizza franchises, all in Colorado. I wonder what beers they serve?
Today is the 65th birthday of Charlie Papazian, one of the most influential persons in modern brewing. Charlie founded the AHA, the AOB and the IBS back in 1978 (which today is the Brewers Association) and organized the first Great American Beer Festival. His book, the Complete Joy of Homebrewing was one of the seminal works on the subject, and is now in its fourth edition. Join me in wishing Charlie a very happy birthday.
Just before taking the stage during GABF 2007, from left, Glenn Payne (of Meantime Brewing), Charlie, Mark Dorber (formerly of the White Horse on Parson’s Green but now at the Anchor Pub), Garrett Oliver, and Steve Hindy (both from Brooklyn Brewing), Dave Alexander (from the Brickskeller), and Tom Dalldorf (from the Celebrator Beer News).
Some NBWA luminaries at the 2008 NBWA welcome reception. From left, Jamie Jurado (with Gambrinus), Lucy Saunders (the Beer Cook), Charlie Papazian (President of the Brewers Association), Kim Jordan (from New Belgium Brewing) and Tom Dalldorf (from the Celebrator Beer News).
Today is Nancy Johnson’s birthday. Nancy is the Events Director for the Brewers Association, which includes being the director of the Great American Beer Festival, among others. She’s been doing that thankless job for a lot of years now and always manages to keep a smile on her face. Join me in wishing Nancy a very happy birthday.
Today is the 52nd birthday of Bob Pease. Bob is the Chief Operating Officer of the Brewers Association and has been integral to their growth. He’s been with the BA since 1993 and was made V.P. in 1999. A few years ago he was promoted to COO. Join me in wishing Bob a very happy birthday.
Today is the 49th birthday of Chris Swersey, who’s on the staff of the Brewers Association as the Competition Manager for both the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup. He coordinates all the judges, volunteers and the thousands of beers needed for each festival. It’s a big job and Chris seems to do it effortlessly. Join me in wishing Chris a very happy birthday.