Monday 31 August 2015

The Influence of Michael Jackson

In his forward to the sixth edition of Great Beers of Belgium, Charlie Papazian says that Michael Jackson "helped transform every beer drinker's perspective" and goes on to say that "his passion and self professed love affair with Belgian beers succeeded in inspiring unparalleled innovation among American brewers". Jackson may have inspired many American brewers but it was made very clear during this year's European Beer Blogger's conference how much he inspired and helped drive the success of Belgian brewers too. 

Armand Debelder - 3 Fonteinen
Albert De Brabandere told the story of how their Petrus Aged Pale came to be - as a result of Jackson demanding, when sampling it directly from the foudre, that consumers be given the chance to try a beer that was originally only brewed for blending. The brewery eventually conceded and packaged a third of a foudre for sale in the United States as part of Jackson's internet beer club in 2001. So well was it received, that it eventually became a core beer.

Armand Debelder talked fondly of Jackson as he passionately recalled the backstory of 3 Fonteinen, highlighting how Jackson's promotion of the traditional Lambic style around the world helped create the demand that drove his business forward to success. Debelder has a picture of them together on the side of the brewery shop and holds Jackson in such high regard that he joked that the town of Beersel should erect a statue of him in the town square.

Our visit to 3 Fonteinen on 30th August 2015 coincided with the 8th anniversary of Jackson's passing. His influence on the success of Belgian beer clearly remains strong and his writing continues to inspire professional beer writers and amateur bloggers alike.


  1. I've always got the feeling that he's bigger in the States and Belgium than he is in Britain.

    1. Curiously I've not heard any American brewers talk about him during visits over there (although my visits have mostly been West Coast - perhaps less influence on their styles?) but his name certainly cropped up a few times in Belgium.

    2. I've seen things like Americans holding Michael Jackson memorial events which you don't get over here.

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