Beer industry, well, everyone, has lost a great person and friend to all.
In a senseless tragedy New Year’s eve, we lost a great friend, a great person, who’s relentless positive energy brought joy and renewed optimism to everyone he met. EVERY one. It is stunning to see the incredible outpouring of grief by so many on the internet.
The internet. Facebook. All relatively new, but it allowed the news to travel with lightning speed. Once the word got out Wednesday, there were spontaneously hundreds of comments, directly to his page, and to beer community pages. And many of the posts had hundreds of responses. All expressing shock and sadness. And many, as time went on, became ways for people to say how this fine man affected their life. Again, hundreds. It is amazing the positive impact he had, on so so many.
I remember when my grandfather died. He was a pretty big deal in the auto industry, and an amazing, great guy as well. This was before the internet. So at the funeral it seemed incredible that there were literally hundreds of cars there, and many hundreds of people. Before the internet. When phones were tied to walls with cords, and you had to spin a dial to make a connection. Three days. Hundreds of people.
So what is the measure of a man, a person? In talking to beer industry people yesterday, we all agreed that we didn’t think we could think of anyone else that would have this kind of impact, this kind of spontaneous outpouring of love and sadness. We all also agreed that this fine gentleman packed more into his 28 years than is possible. He was utterly non-stop. What’s next? What is the next great beer we must try? Where is the next adventure?
That conclusion was cause for additional melancholy, as we all knew that we aren’t that way. Sometimes we can be selfish. I myself had just been thinking how unlucky I was recently in that I lost my phone, and my computer died. What is the third part of the bad luck trilogy that was going to hit ME? I recounted that to a friend, and he wisely said something to the effect that he would happily lose a hundred phones compared to this. Definitely. My old phone works. And the library has computers. Get over it, which of course, I did.
In the beer industry, we are always living on the edge. It is still work, it’s a job, but we have to be especially careful. We are out drinking often, and must be especially careful about what we do, and who is going to drive. Never put the two together.
On this night, he was in Atlanta at a concert. He was in the Heineken suite that was soon to be the SweetWater suite at Philip’s Arena. He was with other beer people, so plans had been made. Precautions taken. What happened was just a freak accident, that could happen to anyone.
So, be careful. Plan ahead. Take precautions. But live large. Carpe diem. If you have to think about it, you’ve already wasted too much time. Do it. Try it. If it doesn’t work, you learned something. If you knew this man, you will always remember his spirit and unrelenting joy of life. If you didn’t, find someone like that, and find it in yourself.
To the SweetWater employee of the year, my friend, and friend to everyone he met, Curtis McArthur, we will all miss you very much. Cheers, brother.
Time for a pint. Cheers.