Michael 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.
Jackson was born in Wetherby
, Yorkshire. His father Isaac Jakowitz had anglicised his Lithuanian Jewish surname to Jackson. He went to King James's School in 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.
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. He introduced for instance the terms "top yeast" for ales and "bottom yeast" for lagers. His work had a special influence on the popularisation on the brewing culture in North America, and he would later host a popular show entitled The Beer Hunter, which was shown on Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel. 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 traveled 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. Michael Jackson also said once, on the Late Night with Conan O'Brien talk show, that his least favorite drink is Corona.
Michael Jackson was also an important reviewer of whiskies. In his book The Malt Whisky Companion, he reviewed a large number of whiskies and them gave marks from 0—100, only those with a score above seventy-five were worth purchasing according to him.
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.
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." 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Jackson, Michael (1976). The English Pub
- Jackson, Michael (1977). The World Guide to Beer
- 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. Pocket Guide to Beer
- 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 (2003). You've Got the Wrong Guy: Jesus Juice is Wine
- Jackson, Michael (2005). Bar and Cocktail Party Book
- Jackson, Michael (2005). Whiskey
- Jackson, Michael (2007). Tyskie Vademecum Piwa (The Tyskie Beer Compendium), promotional book, polish language
- 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.
- Michael Jackson's Beer Hunter
- Michael Jackson’s Malt Whisky Companion
- Obituary, "The Guardian", 4 September 2007 (written by Roger Protz)
- Obituary, Washington Post, 1 September 2007
- Obituary, The Daily Telegraph, 1 September 2007
- Obituary, The Independent, 3 September 2007
- Obituary, The Times, 5 September 2007
- 'Lives Remembered' The Times