I just heard a few minutes ago the sad news that Bruce Nichols passed away from leukemia. Bruce was one of the founders of Philly Beer Week and launched the annual The Book & The Cook event nearly two decades ago at the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archeology & Anthropology where Michael Jackson did an amazing beer dinner each year. I last saw Bruce earlier this year during Philly Beer Week in July but, sad to say, we only spoke briefly, each of us on our way to different events. I’d heard he’d been ill but did not know the extent of it. Philadelphia’s beer community lost one of its leading lights today, and I extend my sympathy to Bruce’s family and all my friends in Pennsylvania and beyond who knew Bruce. He will be missed. Join me in drinking a toast tonight to Bruce’s memory.
Bruce with Don Russell and Tom Peters at the opening of the first Philly Beer Week in 2008.
Tom Peters, owner of Monk’s Cafe, posted the following on his website today:
I lost a good friend today and so did the entire Philadelphia beer community. Bruce Nichols lost his battle with leukemia. Bruce was president of Museum Catering Company and co-founder of Philly Beer Week. Bruce was a voice of reason, always calm and had an innate ability to bring people together.
Bruce, myself and Don Russell organized the first Philly Beer Week with the help of many bars, restaurants, distributors, brewers, etc. Bruce was always a driving force behind the Philly beer movement. He was also adept at keeping us crazy beer people organized and on-point. Philly Beer Week would have never happen without his ideas and positive energy.
Bruce is the person that brought famed beer writer, Michael Jackson, to Philly, way back in 1991. Bruce Nichols hosted Michael at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology for a “The Book & The Cook” event. That single beer event drew more people than any 10 food events combined. Thus began the real emergence on the Philadelphia beer culture. Bruce & Michael combined for seventeen annual beer events, each more challenging than the previous. Bruce really helped push the boundaries of beer culture in Philadelphia. We are all thankful and grateful to all that Bruce has done for us.
Bruce will be missed by all who were close to him and the beer community has lost a good friend and champion.
I raise a glass to your life. Goodbye, my friend.
And thanks to Jack Curtin for letting me and everybody know.