Why Michael Jackson was an inspiration for our business

21 September, 2007

I only met Michael Jackson once, probably 25 years ago or so, when he was still working on his first World Guide to Beer. I did speak to him a couple of times on the phone though, when he was preparing his Channel 4 series, the Beer Hunter (in the days when Channel 4 made watchable telly). He came across as a very approachable, non-pompous sort of a bloke, since he was after all something of an authority.

I recall that he started his Beer Hunter series by introducing himself by name and apologising for the fact that he was neither the same pigmentation nor the same shape as the other Michael Jackson viewers might have been expecting.

He was probably the first bloke in modern times to try to level the playing field a bit between beer and wine, and show that beer was more than something to simply throw down your neck without a second's thought. As such, he was certainly inspirational to me when setting up York Beer Shop, since our aim then was to try to get drinkers to view beer a bit more seriously. I used his early books as kind of guides as to what I should try to stock, since overseas breweries were a bit of a mystery to me back then. They still are in quite a few instances.

The huge growth in interest in quality international beers over the last 20 years can be largely attributed to his wide knowledge, informed opinions

and highly readable books and journalism.

I reckon I owe him big time.

Jim Helsby

York Beer & Wine Shop


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