There's a good chance that the beer in your hand is the result of Michael Jackson's writing. No other individual did more to celebrate the history, culture, and enjoyment of craft beer. Yet many new fans of craft beer have no idea who he was, and his role in the global phenomenon that is the craft brewing movement. This film is a tribute to his efforts and life.
Michael Jackson is a legend in the world of craft brewing. His 1977 book, The World Guide to Beer, was the first of its kind, and the first to categorize almost every major style of beer in the world. His 1993 television series, The Beer Hunter, became an instant classic, and helped launch the spectacular craft beer movement that we take for granted today. Michael's engaging writing literally saved many styles of beer from extinction, and his work inspired an entire generation of brewers to experiment with beer styles from around the world. Many in the beer world are unaware that Michael was also the leading author on the subject of whiskey, and his books on whiskey have sold more copies worldwide than his books on beer. His sudden death in 2007, at the age of 65, shocked the beer and whiskey worlds. His legacy and contributions were substantial, and should be recognized and remembered. As a person, Michael was one of the best, as those fortunate enough to know him can attest to.
I first met Michael in London in 2004, and began producing DVD tasting segments for his Rare Beer Club. As time went by, I was sent out to follow Michael on his many trips through Europe and the U.S., and we discussed the idea of making a documentary, or even another Beer Hunter series. After Michael's passing, it was decided that the footage from these travels should be made into a documentary.
Through this rare visual record we are treated to an intimate picture of Michael, as he traveled to beer meccas such as Belgium, the Czech Republic, Ireland, California, and the Delaware Valley. Woven into this unprecedented library of Michael's later years will be current interviews with the world's leading brewers, distillers, and beer enthusiasts, giving us insight into Michael's enigmatic personality, his remarkable contributions to beer and whiskey, and his secret struggle with Parkinson's Disease. In addition to the movie, a web series will be released at some point from the hours and hours of extra footage not used in the documentary, to be used a public resource for beer enthusiasts and fans of Michael.
It is the filmmakers' hope that through the movie and series, fans of Michael's work will gain a more complete picture of his life and story, and greatly expand their knowledge of craft beer: its history, geography, and enjoyment.
The filmmakers have launched a worldwide fund-raising effort within the craft beer and whiskey communities to help with production on the film. Proceeds from the film and fund raising efforts will go towards Parkinson's research, and the producers hope to establish a non-profit foundation dedicated to preserving Michael's legacy through annual events on March 27th, to coincide with Michael's birth date. Click here for information on how you can donate to the cause.