Bruce Nichols, 62; cofounded Philly Beer Week

Bruce Nichols
Bruce Nichols
Posted: December 01, 2010

Bruce Nichols, 62, a longtime champion of quality beer in Philadelphia and cofounder of Philly Beer Week, died Tuesday, Nov. 30, of leukemia.

Mr. Nichols had started an annual dinner and beer tasting in Philadelphia with renowned British beer expert Michael Jackson in 1991 that lasted until Jackson's death in 2007.

Philly Beer Week started in 2008, and now boasts that it is the largest beer celebration of its kind in the country. Mr. Nichols was chair of the nonprofit that ran the annual 10-day event.

Mr. Nichols was president of Museum Catering Co.

Tom Peters, co-owner of Monk's Cafe, wrote on his website Tuesday that "Philly Beer Week would have never [happened] without his ideas and positive energy."

Peters said that Mr. Nichols brought Jackson, who pioneered beer writing in the 1970s and had a TV show called The Beer Hunter, to the University of Pennsylvania's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology for an event that was part of "The Book and The Cook" series, and that Jackson kept coming back.

"You can't understate his influence on Philadelphia's beer scene, which has become famous worldwide," said Don Russell, the Philadelphia Daily News' "Joe Sixpack" columnist, who cofounded Philly Beer Week with Mr. Nichols and Peters.

In June, he opened a restaurant and craft-beer bar called the HeadHouse at 122 Lombard St. in Society Hill with Madame Saito.

He quit about a month later, saying he was tired and ready to retire, Saito said. The restaurant, still with craft beer and Mr. Nichols' design, reopened Nov. 12 without him, she said.

That same day, Mr. Nichols was diagnosed with leukemia. He had been at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania since then, Russell said. He had begun chemotherapy about a week and a half ago.

Mr. Nichols had homes in Blue Bell and in Center City, Russell said.

No services had been set as of Tuesday night.

"He was a good friend to go out and have beers with," Russell said.


Contact staff writer Robert Moran at 215-854-5983 or bmoran@phillynews.com.

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