Danny Williams, a friend passes

The beer industry took a huge hit this week when one of our very special friends passed away. Paul Gatza eulogizes him grecefully, so I will simply pass along these kind words about a man we will all miss:

From: Paul Gatza 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 Subject: Danny Williams

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It is with heavy heart that I report that our dear friend Danny Williams passed away Monday night in his bed in Sunshine after a struggle with cancer. Danny served various functions for the Brewers Association over the last 15 years as a volunteer steward, World Beer Cup block captain, and contract cooler manager for the GABF competition, beer service team lead for the Craft Brewers Conference, and BIPS and BA Professional Division membership temporary caller.

Danny had hundreds of friends in the craft brewing community. His affable nature drew people to him and many people became his friends within moments of meeting Danny. Danny was ready to leave this Earth as his body shut down, so please consider this a time of joy that he is finally free from the pain of his pancreatic and stomach cancer.

Danny’s eldest son Josh, a Southern Sun Pub & Brewery server, is going to try to pick up the mortgage on the United Empire Gold Mines property in Sunshine that was Danny’s home since 2002, so hopefully that gem of history will host more gatherings of Danny’s and Josh’s beery friends. There have been requests for donations on the Brookston Beer Bulletin site and here in Colorado. His estate will receive benefit funds from a Feb. 11 auction of cool brewery stuff to be held at Backcountry Pizza in Boulder, and any surplus from the Boulder Strong Ale Fest to be held at Avery Brewing in March. Monies donated to these funds will help preserve the amazing beer storage area Danny built in the mine, which is featured in the most recent issue of All About Beer, was the subject of a great 2008 New York Times piece available at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/25/dining/25beer.html, and was the location of legendary Belgian-Style beer parties.

Danny and I were best friends. We hit it off drinking beers from 1 to 6 a.m. while sitting on a hillside overlooking the Shenandoah River at a Greenpeace staff training event in Harper’s Ferry, WV in 1990. Lawrence Daniel Williams was born in 1959. After growing up in the South (mostly North Carolina) and Germany, he moved to Boulder in 1991, started homebrewing in 1992, and began volunteering as a competition steward about 15 years ago.  He developed a deep knowledge and passion for craft-brewed beers. Whether he was working on the GABF or doing an educational beer tasting for back-of-house staff at a CBC hotel or helping the formation of a women’s beer appreciation group, he touched the local and national beer communities many times in many ways. I have been tipped off to the beers from many great breweries by Danny, and he was a key piece for educating me on what some of our member companies are up to. I miss him deeply already. And I am sure many of his close friends inside and outside of the brewing community feel similar sentiments.

Cheers to you, Daniel Q. Williams.

P A U L   G A T Z A 

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