Michael Jackson (writer)

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Michael Jackson
Michael jackson beer.jpg
Michael Jackson
Born Michael James Jackson
(1942-03-27)27 March 1942
Leeds, West Yorkshire
Died 30 August 2007(2007-08-30) (aged 65)
London
Nationality British
Known for Beer and whisky reviewing and journalism
Partner(s) Paddy Gunningham 1981–2007[1][2]
Website
Michael Jackson's Beer HunterRare Beer Club founder

Michael James Jackson (27 March 1942 – 30 August 2007) was an English writer and journalist. He was the author of several influential books about beer and whisky. He was a regular contributor to a number of British broadsheets, particularly The Independent and The Observer.[3]

Jackson's books have sold over three million copies worldwide and have been translated into eighteen different languages.[4] He is credited with helping to start a renaissance of interest in beer and breweries worldwide in the 1970s, particularly in the United States.[5] He is also widely credited with popularising the idea of beer styles.[6] His influential television series The Beer Hunter was shown in fifteen different countries.[7]

He was as equally versed in the world of malt whisky as well as beer, and his book, Michael Jackson's Malt Whisky Companion (1989) is the best-selling book on the subject in the world.[4]

At the time of his death Jackson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for at least a decade. He did not declare his illness until his symptoms caused some to think he was drunk.[8]

Life[edit]

Jackson was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire and spent his early years in nearby Wetherby.[4] His father had Anglicised his Lithuanian Jewish surname Jakowitz to Jackson. The family moved to Leeds after the war.[9] He went to King James's Grammar School, Almondbury and became a journalist, most notably in Edinburgh where he first encountered whisky. On his return to London he briefly edited the advertising trade journal "Campaign".

Michael Jackson became famous in beer circles in 1977 when his book The World Guide To Beer was published. This was later translated into more than ten languages and is still considered to be one of the most fundamental books on the subject.[10]

The modern theory of beer style is largely based on the work done by Michael Jackson in his 1977 book The World Guide To Beer in which Jackson categorised a variety of beers from around the world in local style groups suggested by local customs and names.[11]

His work had a special influence on the popularisation of the brewing culture in North America, and he would later around 1990 host a popular show entitled The Beer Hunter, which was shown on Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel. It involved several episodes where in each one he'd visit a different country, one being the UK. Episodes featured beer barrels being lined with pitch or iron foundry workers drinking 'light' beer while they worked in hot conditions to quench thirst, practices which he knew were likely to be ended soon. This landmark series was a success.

During his 30-year career as a critic, he wrote columns for a large number of newspapers and magazines.

Jackson considered beer as a component of culture and described beers in their cultural context. Although he travelled around the world and discovered different beer cultures, he was especially fond of the Belgian beers. He was appointed to an honorary officer of the Ridderschap van de Roerstok in 1997 for his important contribution to the international success of the Belgian beers. This honour had previously only been given to brewers. In 1998, Jackson brought forth his own line of beer glassware. Shortly after, Jackson also helped create and worked with the only beer club he ever endorsed, Michael Jackson's Rare Beer Club.[12]

Michael Jackson's beer glassware (from left to right): summer glass, tasting glass, snifter, session glass

Michael Jackson was also an important reviewer of whiskies. In his book The Malt Whisky Companion, he reviewed a large number of whiskies and gave them marks from 0–100, considering only those with a score above seventy-five worth purchasing. In many ways, his work in the world of whisky exceeded his significance as a beer writer. He was arguably the most important writer on whisky since the Victorian commentator Alfred Barnard and certainly the most significant and influential modern whisky writer. This was recognized by the prestigious award of "Master of the Quaich" and the prodigious sale of his whisky books and sell-out attendances at his tastings. He had enormous influence on the development of single malt whisky globally.[citation needed]

Apart from his work as a journalist and a critic, he was also a great fan of rugby league.

It was revealed in December 2006 that Michael Jackson "is and has been suffering for at least a decade from Parkinson's Disease."[13] He also suffered from diabetes. Michael Jackson died of a heart attack in his home the morning of 30 August 2007 at the age of 65.[14]

Awards[edit]

  • André Simon Award
  • Winner of the Glenfiddich Trophy, a British prize for culinary writers.
  • Honorary officer of the Ridderschap van de Roerstok, a Belgian award.
  • The Gold Tankard of the British Guild of Beer Writers, given for his CD-Roms
  • Columnist of the Year from the North American Guild of Beer Writers
  • Winner James Beard Award, 2006[15]
  • Keeper of the Quaich; Master of the Quaich (Scotch Whisky industry award)
  • Holder of the Haarikka ("haarikanhaltija" in Finnish) 1995 (Finnish Sahti Association award)
  • First recipient of the US Achievement Award of the Institute for Fermentation Studies.
  • Honorary Master beer judge; Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP)

Selective bibliography[edit]

  • Jackson, Michael (1976). The English Pub
  • Jackson, Michael (1977). The World Guide to Beer
  • Jackson, Michael (1986). Pocket Guide to Beer ISBN 0-671-72915-2
  • Jackson, Michael (1987). The World Guide to Whisky
  • Jackson, Michael (1988). New World Guide to Beer (Updated)
  • Jackson, Michael (1991). Michael Jackson's Great Beers of Belgium ISBN 0-7624-0403-5
  • Jackson, Michael (1997). Michael Jackson's Beer Companion ISBN 0-7624-0772-7
  • Jackson, Michael (1998) Ultimate Beer
  • Jackson, Michael (1998) Little Book on Beer
  • Jackson, Michael; Lucas, Sharon (ed.) (1999). Michael Jackson's complete guide to Single Malt Scotch (fourth ed.). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Running Press Book Publishers. ISBN 0-7624-0731-X
  • Jackson, Michael; Lucas, Sharon (ed.) (2000). Michael Jackson's Great Beer Guide. DK ADULT. ISBN 0-7894-5156-5
  • Jackson, Michael (2001). Scotland and its Whiskies
  • Jackson, Michael (2004). The Malt Whisky Companion, Penguin Books 2004 ISBN 978-1-4053-0234-0
  • Jackson, Michael (2005). Bar and Cocktail Party Book
  • Jackson, Michael (2005). Whisky ISBN 978-0-7513-4434-9
  • Jackson, Michael (2007). Tyskie Vademecum Piwa (The Tyskie Beer Compendium), promotional book, Polish language

Multimedia[edit]

  • The Beer Hunter (1995), a CD-ROM about the American beer culture
  • World Beer Hunter (1996), a CD-ROM on beer cultures around the world

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Michael Jackson, 65, Beer Critic and author, Is Dead". The New York Times. 3 September 2007. 
  2. ^ "Michael Jackson, in memory of the Beer Hunter". Beer-pages.com. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  3. ^ The Daily Telegraph (LONDON) 1 September 2007 Saturday Obituary of Michael Jackson Writer who tirelessly examined and championed beer and later became an equal authority on malt whisky, p29
  4. ^ a b c "Michael Jackson: best-selling beer writer". The Independent (London). 3 September 2007. 
  5. ^ "Michael Jackson, 65, Beer Critic and author, Is Dead". The New York Times. 3 September 2007. 
  6. ^ "Michael Jackson and the invention of beer style | Zythophile". Zythophile.wordpress.com. 23 October 2010. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  7. ^ Bowering, Ian (1995). Brewing in Formosa: 125 Years of Tradition, 1870–1995. Burnstown, Ontario, Canada: General Store Publishing House. p. v. ISBN 1896182224. 
  8. ^ The Daily Telegraph (LONDON) 1 September 2007 Saturday Obituary of Michael Jackson Writer who tirelessly examined and championed beer and later became an equal authority on malt whisky , p29
  9. ^ Protz, Roger (4 September 2007). "Obituary: Michael Jackson". The Guardian (London). 
  10. ^ Article by Jeff Evans in Brewery History
  11. ^ Papazian, Charles (2003). The Complete Joy of Homebrewing. HarperResource. ISBN 0060531053. 
  12. ^ 'Michael Jackson's Rare Beer Club'
  13. ^ Brookston Beer Bulletin » Blog Archive » Michael Jackson Reveals His Battle with Parkinson’s
  14. ^ Michael Jackson Passes Away – World Beer & Whisky Authority – Michael Jackson – 27 March 1942 – 30 August 2007 – By Carolyn Smagalski / BellaOnline's Beer and Brewing Editor
  15. ^ "The James Beard Foundation Awards". web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 21 October 2007. Retrieved 2009-09-26. 

External links[edit]