It was 1997. I was a judge at the U.S. Real Ale Festival, in Chicago, Illinois. Festival organizer Ray Daniels was giving us our pre-event instructions. He passed out pencils with which to take notes. On each were the words "Ray Daniels for ...[political office]". He had all those pencils left over to give us because he hadn't won. His loss was fortuitous for good beer in the United States. Daniels would go on to devote his full-time to beer advocacy and education.
Among his many accomplishments, Daniels is the author of Designing Great Beers (and other beer-related books), a past director of the Brewers Association Craft Beer Marketing Program, a past publisher of Brewers Publications, a senior faculty member at the Siebel Institute of Technology,and an advocate for real ale in America.
But Daniels is best well-known today as the creator and director of a beer 'sommelier' training certification, the Cicerone Certification Program. This campaign to to educate bartenders, waiters, and pub owners about the beers they serve (and not least, to rid beer bars of dirty lines), has been a powerful tool for the rapid growth of 'craft' beer in the United States. Quite the C.V.
Have a happy birthday, today, Ray Daniels, beer teacher.