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A Nickels Worth
A Founding Publisher’s 20th Anniversary Message
Imagine how difficult life must have been one hundred years ago. In 1908, the typical beer publication was more than likely a technical manual on hop ratios, barley types and water temperature, delivered only to brewmasters and beer company bigwigs. Later in the century, the equivalent of a beer publication was found on the label of one’s favourite industrial brew, such as, “Beechwood-aged,” “From the land of Sky Blue Waters,” “It’s the water” or “It’s Miller time.” Not very informative, to say the least!

Now look at us. Just one century later — a mere heart-flutter compared with the eons it took humans to master fire — we’ve got a myriad of regional brewspapers positively breathtaking in their coverage, artwork and descriptive wizardry. Case in point: the Celebrator Beer News! This original publication, noted as being the first brewspaper in the land as well as the inspiration for many imitators, has evolved over time to become North America’s longest-running and most widely read brewspaper.

With the release of that premier issue of the Celebrator Beer News, a whole new genre of beer publication was born!

A beer newspaper this dramatic is almost unexpected, if you think about its humble origins and the two crazy Canucks who first envisioned it back in 1987. With the release of that premier issue of the Celebrator Beer News (then called the California Celebrator) on Valentines Day in 1988, a whole new genre of beer publication was born! This crazy Canuck, whose newspaper experience was about on par with the Olympic gold medals won by Bangladesh, would never have guessed that 20 years later, the 12-page, 10,000-circulation brewspaper would grow into the 52-page, 60,000-circulation successful glossy brewzine it is today. When Julie Nickels and I (the founding publishers) envisioned the Celebrator, we had little idea that it would grow into the indispensable brewspaper it has become.

Those early days of the Celebrator were filled with interesting but difficult times as we attempted to create a new kind of newspaper and learn about the newspaper business along the way. Luckily for us, in those first few months of preparation, we managed to meet some very important and influential hop-heads who helped guide us as we learned — on the job — how to put a newspaper together.

People like the late Michael Jackson (newspaper man extraordinaire), Judy Ashworth (of the late, great Lyons Brewery), Mark Carpenter and Fritz Maytag (of Anchor Brewing Company), George Saxon (of Phoenix Imports) and other VIPs like Ken Vermes, Brendan Moylan, Rick Flynn, Jim Parker, Greg Jones, Bob Stoddard, Dewayne Saxton, Phil Rogers, Bob Hufford and Ralph Steinlager, to name only a few, were our counsel and soon-to-be friends. They were more than instrumental in getting the Celebrator off the ground. With their help, we managed to get the first issue out the door and into the hands of a seemingly ravenous public. And the rest, as they say, is history!

The Celebrator has continued over the last 20 years to entertain and to allow the beer enthusiast to better understand the growing and exciting beer world as it expands and develops, despite the dark forces of economics, political correctness, blandness and monotony that always threaten. But don’t take my word for it. Just look at the many comments made over the years regarding the Celebrator:

“Easily the best brewspaper in the world.”

“The indispensable ‘brewspaper’ for beer travelers.”

“The best beer industry magazine around.”

“California's favorite beer newspaper.”

“A well-respected newspaper.”

“The West Coast's famous brewspaper.”

“The most respected national beer newspaper.”

Celebrator Beer News, a Hayward, California–based news magazine, has taken on cult status within the microbrew industry.”

“America's premier ‘brewspaper.’"

Celebrator Beer News, the premier magazine for the American craft beer industry.”

"The class act in beer publications.”

I could go on, but it is evident that a great many people appreciate and respect all that the Celebrator has to offer. Even though I left the Celebrator Beer News many years ago, I have watched, like a proud father, the growth and maturity that the Celebrator has embraced over the past 20 years. A hearty thank-you goes out to all the brew fans and friends who have appreciated the Celebrator over the years.

I would also like to thank Tom Dalldorf, who took over the publishing duties from Julie and me and who has remained a good friend. His professional guidance has ensured that the Celebrator provides plenty to all who appreciate the fine offerings from the world’s brewers. I am proud to have been associated with both the concept and creation of what has turned out to be one of the most interesting beer publications in the world. I raise my mug to 20 more years of continued beer success! Long live the Celebrator Beer News!




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