My friend and colleague Harry Schuhmacher of the Beer Business Daily wrote yesterday about his feelings for the beer industry:
This industry has been very good to me. I love this industry as if it were a treasured relative: I love it’s idiosyncrasies, I love the product itself, but most of all I love the people. I’ve made so many friendships in this business that I value deeply. This industry, I believe, has the best people of any industry on earth.
And I must agree. That’s how I feel as well. The beer world is a tight knit community, as close to a family as an industry could get. I spent several hours last night reminded of that fact at Anchor Brewery’s annual Christmas party seeing old friends, drinking some great beer and eating some terrific food. We’re there for each other and help out whenever we can. I love that about beer, how it brings people together. I bring this up because there’s a new opportunity for us to help one of our own, someone who really needs our assistance.
Perhaps many of you know JB Shireman, or perhaps you’ve only heard his name, perhaps not. Shireman worked for many years at New Belgium Brewing, and he was a big part of their rapid expansion, traveling extensively to build their distribution networks as they added state after state. Last year, he left New Belgium in order to spend more time raising his son, became a consultant for craft brewers, and also opened a bar, the Bar Double S in Laporte, Colorado.
Unfortunately, I learned the following from Harry, who learned it from Bump Williams, a well-known beer business expert with IRI Symphony.
Doctors have discovered a large tumor in JB’s brain. The good news is that the tumor is benign. The bad news is that it will take a very long, complex, and expensive surgery to remove the tumor. JB has only told a close circle of compadres about his situation, and of course he has not asked for any help.
Bump also told Harry about his idea for a fundraiser to help out JB Shireman, and especially the medical costs he and his family are facing. Beer Business Daily posted a letter from Bump Williams, which I reprinted in part below:
I need your help in trying to raise $10,000.00 between December 10th and January 10th (2011) for JB Shireman, a dear friend of the Beer business who has to undergo brain surgery in early January. The surgery is going keep him out of work for a longer period of time than any of us wants, and I’d like to ask for your help in getting him up, on his feet and back to work just as soon as humanly possible. The good news is that the surgeons performing JB’s operation are the best in the business and they all agree that the prognosis is very good for him.
You all know JB and all the work he has done while at New Belgium promoting Beer in general, Craft Beer in particular, Wholesaler training, helping the Retailer understand the dynamics of the Craft consumer and his new work in being Craft-Centric thinkers. We can’t afford to have him out of commission for too long! I expect JB to be laid up and unable to tend to the job he loves most — BEER — for about 8 weeks after his surgery; and that’s a long time for someone like him to be out of commission. You all know JB as well as I do, and you understand the need to get him back up and into the work environment before he goes stir-crazy just laying around in bed recovering and getting his strength back!
I’m asking everyone across this wonderful business who knows JB or who has worked with him for a small contribution to help defray a lot of the medical and recovery costs he is going to inherit after his surgery. I’d also like for you to include JB in your thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery as he goes through this anxious time. He is a good friend of all ours; he’s a friend of the industry and a great father, too. If the tables were turned around and he knew that one of his friends needed help, he’d be the first person in line to lend a hand.
From December 10, 2010 (JB’s birthday) through January 10, 2011 (post surgery), our goal is to collect $10,000.00 to help JB defray his medical and recuperation costs.
Here is what you need to do if you are able to help:
- Please send this note to as many people as you can who might know JB, and let them know of JB’s situation and our fundraiser for him.
- Send me a donation to the address below (made out to Mr. John Shireman) before January 10, 2011 and I will deposit it into a separate savings account.
- After JB’s surgery, I will have the bank write a cashier’s check made out to JB and then hand-deliver it to him at his home in LaPorte, CO along with a card that bears the name of everyone who was able to make a donation.
Thanks for your consideration, I really appreciate it.
900 Beaver Dam Road
Stratford, CT 06614
I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate your kindness and help; and you all know JB well enough to know what it will mean to him. Be well, always,
I would encourage anyone who knows JB or just wants to help out a worthy cause, to donate and help Bump reach his goal of raising $10,000 by January 10. Let’s help out a friend in need. It just feels like the right thing to do, especially during the holidays when I can think of no better way to celebrate than helping out our fellow man, make that our fellow “beer” man.
Please spread the word.