A reporter friend (thanks Brent) just sent me this terrible news. Bill Brand, longtime Bay Area beer writer and reporter with the Oakland Tribune, was critically injured last night when he was struck by a Muni train near Pac Bell Park south of 21st Amendment in San Francisco where he had just left to catch a ride to BART. The following information was posted on his Bottoms Up column in the Oakland Tribune.
Bill Brand was in critical condition at San Francisco General Hospital after he was hit about 9:10 p.m. Sunday, family members said.
He was was walking near Second and King streets when an N-Judah train struck him, according to the San Francisco Municipal Railway.
In his career with the Tribune, Brand covered a host of topics for the newspaper, including crime and science. After leaving the paper in July, he continued to write a regular beer column titled “What’s on Tap” and contribute to the Bottoms Up blog.
At Bottoms Up, they’re asking to hear from “blogging buddies, commenters and community members in the comments section so they “can pass your best wishes as soon as we’re able to share them.” Let’s do our part to inundate him well wishes.
Bill is a terrific person and an asset to the Bay Area’s beer community, a tireless champion. I’ve been with him at events three out of the last four days, so I can hardly believe this news. With everyone here in the Bay Area for SF Beer Week, let’s all stop for a moment tonight, say at 7:00 p.m. and drink a toast to Bill and especially for a speedy recovery.
UPDATE: I got a call from Jesse Friedman of Beer & Nosh, who sat with Bill last night a dinner. By coincidence, he lies near the hospital and stopped by to see Bill and find out how he was doing. Jesse spoke to Bill’s wife and Bill is in a coma and his prognosis is not known at this time. As I learn more details, I’ll add them here.
UPDATE 2: Shaun O’Sullivan told me as Bill was leaving the 21st Amendment, he paused at the front door to dial a number on his mobile phone, then stepping into the night, turning left. He most likely called his wife, Daryl, s several reports indicate that, such as the following by Robert Salonga in the San Jose Mercury. “I spoke to his wife, and it sounds like he was on the phone with her just before the accident,” Dean Taylor [of the SF Police Dept.] said. “The train’s driver saw him, and he appeared to walk onto the track, where he was struck by the first eighth of the train, the part up front where passengers get on.”
Brand was knocked into a nearby pole by the impact, Taylor said.
Amy Gutierrez says
Bill, it was nice to finally meet you face to face Friday night after talking on the phone for the past year or so. Get well soon so we can visit again at another beer event. Take care! Amy Gutierrez.
Wow, I’m stunned. We’d just shared a great dinner at 21st Amendment last night where I finally met Bill in person for the first time. We were all in great spirits around the table with great beer, food, and camaraderie. This is certainly leaving me feeling numb this morning. I will lead a toast wherever I may find myself tonight at 7pm. To a strong recovery Bill!
What horrible news. I also just met Bill in person for the first time – what a wonderfully cheerful and positive man. I’ll be thinking of him. And thanks for letting us know – it’s hard news to hear but I appreciate the opportunity to send him my best wishes.
Mike W says
I’m just beside myself…. I had to stop and gather my thoughts! I’ve been talking to Bill via email fairly regularly. He’s such a nice and supportive guy. I can only wish for his recovery and will be thinking of him.
Ms. Perky says
What horrible news. We live right next to SF General, so please let his family know if there’s anything they need–someone to run out and fetch them food or run errands, we’re happy to do it. We are only a minute away. They can call me or Melissa at 415.269.7024.
Steve Altimari says
We will raise a toast to you tonight for a speedy and healthy recovery. As we had planned on meeting up tonight, I will gladly take a rain check, here’s to a future beer together. Get well friend.
Adam Lambert says
Get Well! Prayers are with him.
Claus Hagelman says
To Bill and his family: Ours is a small world and you are family. You will be in our thoughts and our toasts until you are well.
Jim Smith says
The WONDERFUL Bill Brand. I am truly saddened. When I think of local beer I think of Bill. Have spoken to him many many times through the years at beer fests and I have always awaited his next column/post. Had a nice discussion with him Saturday at the Double IPA Fest and looked forward to conversing with him again at the Celebrator bash. A true gentleman and well versed (and humorous) writer. Get well soon buddy! WE NEED YOU! Our prayers go out to a good and decent man.
Brian Yaeger says
Kimberley and I have talked repeatedly throughout the day, about how we rode to the dinner next to Bill, sat next to him at the dinner where he enjoyed every second and every sip, and how we wish we’d taken the N-Judah home, too, in hopes somehow this could’ve been avoided by a matter of seconds. All I keep doing is looking for updates on his condition. We’re praying hard for his speedy recovery. Tonight’s toast and hereafter will be to him.
Chipper Dave Butler says
My heart goes out to Bill and his family. I’m saddened to hear about this accident and pray Bill can recover and return to what he loves doing.
Jay, thank you for taking my news tip and running with it. I appreciate the extra reporting. If anybody can post more info about where Bill is being treated, that would be great. Sounds like SF General. I followed Jay’s idea and made a toast to Bill at 7 pm tonight.
joe tucker says
Here’s to you Bill for all you’ve done for us in the craft beer community. May you have a full and speedy recovery.
Chris Crabb says
I just read this and am in shock – I’ve never met Bill in person, but know him well through years of email correspondence. I was hoping to meet him this summer at OBF. Bill, you are in my thoughts.
Ed Westemeier says
I feel terrible about this. Having known Bill for a number of years, I’ve watched him progress from merely someone who appreciated good beer into a truly knowledgeable beer connoisseur. His strength is his ability to communicate not only his knowledge but also his enthusiasm for great beer. And to top it off, Bill is one of the truly nice guys in this world. Always a pleasure to be around. Here’s a toast to wish you a quick recovery, old buddy!
Bob Skilnik says
Terrible, terrible news. Bill and I have exchanged e-mails and telephone calls over the last few years. He’s always been fair in reviewing my books. I was amazed when he bounced back so quickly after his heart condition a while back.
A few years ago, I returned a telephone call to him. I was pushing another book and wanted to make sure that I quickly returned his call.
“Sorry Bob,” he said when I went into my pitch, “Call me later. I just wrapped up an article on a murder and now I’m dealing with a fire.” Sort of put the whole book promo thing into perspective. Somehow it had escaped me; Bill is a real reporter!