(Out of many pictures of Bruce, this is one of my favorites--at the Philly Beer Week 2009 installment of Zythos America. Here he's pictured at right of Tom Peters from Monk's and Chris Bauweraerts from d'Achouffe.)I was just commenting the other day how 2010 has been remarkably light of deaths within the craft brewing industry. Then, out of nowhere, today comes this absolutely devastating news of the passing of Bruce Nichols. I will add nothing more than a brief mention of my own personal experience. I find it so interesting the unique personalities of every one in the craft brewing industry. We are all so uniquely different. In every encounter and beer with Bruce, I found his trademark personality to be one of patience, kindness, and genteelness. And now, I'll pass you over to the Monk's Cafe website where Tom Peters nicely memorialized his dear friend. (Since it may not stay up there forever, I will also paste Peters' comments below.) Update: Jack Curtin has posted a more formal notice of Bruce's passing on the Beer Yard website. It, too, is worth your time.
I lost a good friend today and so did the entire Philadelphia beer community. Bruce Nichols lost his battle with leukemia. Bruce was president of Museum Catering Company and co-founder of Philly Beer Week. Bruce was a voice of reason, always calm and had an innate ability to bring people together. Bruce, myself and Don Russell organized the first Philly Beer Week with the help of many bars, restaurants, distributors, brewers, etc. Bruce was always a driving force behind the Philly beer movement. He was also adept at keeping us crazy beer people organized and on-point. Philly Beer Week would have never happen without his ideas and positive energy. Bruce is the person that brought famed beer writer, Michael Jackson, to Philly, way back in 1991. Bruce Nichols hosted Michael at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology for a "The Book & The Cook" event. That single beer event drew more people than any 10 food events combined. Thus began the real emergence on the Philadelphia beer culture. Bruce & Michael combined for seventeen annual beer events, each more challenging than the previous. Bruce really helped push the boundaries of beer culture in Philadelphia. We are all thankful and grateful to all that Bruce has done for us. Bruce will be missed by all who were close to him and the beer community has lost a good friend and champion. I raise a glass to your life. Goodbye, my friend. - Tom Peters, 11/30/10