About Michael Jackson
The title of this film, Whisky Chasing, is a tribute to the late, great Michael Jackson. No, not that Michael Jackson. The other Michael Jackson, the world’s most beloved beer and whisky writer, was born in Leeds, England, on March 27th, 1942. At an early age Michael took a keen interest in food and journalism, and also beer. By the age of sixteen he was writing a weekly column for the local Huddersfield Press called, “This is your pub.” He was endowed with an amazing palate and a near-photographic memory. But what really set Michael apart was his writing. You must read his work to really understand how entertaining and informative his books and articles are. Few other writers in any discipline combine wit, humanity, history, culture, art, science, and technical information so effortlessly and enjoyably. His writing is simply in a class of its own, and always will be. And as a person, Michael was again a unique, beloved figure. The central theme of his writing was people, and he loved nothing more than to belly in a pub and chat with people about, sometimes beer and whisky, but more often about politics, culture, art, history, or some of his other favorite subjects, such as boxing, rugby league, and jazz. Our previous film, Beer Hunter: The Movie, follows Michael through his travels in the beer world and explores how Michael’s books and television series about beer, entitled The Beer Hunter, literally inspired the craft brewing revolution that is sweeping the globe. But that is only half of the story.
But what many in beer world don’t realize, is that, not long after becoming the world’s foremost expert on the subject of beer, Michael turned his attention to the other great malted beverage, whisk(e)y, and became just as influential and beloved in that realm as he was in the craft beer world. So would even say more so. In the whisky world, Michael was known as “The Whisky Chaser”, and while he never made a television series about whisky, his books on the subject set the standard for all other writers to follow. He was a pioneer in the field, and much as he did with beer, Michael meticulously assembled tasting notes and flavor profiles that redefined how whisky tasting and appreciation was
approached. His books include, The World Guide to Whisky (1987), Michael Jackson’s complete guide to Single Malt Scotch (1999), Scotland and its Whiskies (2001), The Malt Whisky Companion (2004), and Whisky: the Definitive World Guide (2005). This impressive body of work unquestionably inspired thousands to branch out and try new whiskies, especially single-malts. Michael Jackson was the first person to write seriously about Japanese whiskey, and he almost single-handedly vaulted the country’s whiskey producers to international fame. The whisky industry was on the ropes in the early 80’s due to oversupply; now, there is a full-blown international revolution and renaissance in the production of whisk(e)y, with thousands of distilleries in planning in all corners of the globe. And, with this awakening in distilling, comes a flowering of whisky writers, bloggers, and yes, filmmakers.
Michael has other nicknames – the Maven of Malt, the White Rose of Yorkshire, but in our film, we pay tribute to the Whisky Chaser, and our mission is to take a snapshot of the whiskey world and explore how Michael’s spirit and legacy is woven into the fabric of the wonderful whisky renaissance happening now. Thank you for joining us on this adventure. Michael, we remember.