Dave Wickett was a lecturer in economics but decided to take up commercial brewing in 1990 and opened Kelham Island Brewery. The rest as they say is history. The first time I encountered Dave was in 2004 when a bloke called Mr Wickett from some brewery or other kept on leaving messages for me at reception. I was almost as busy then as I am now and I assumed he was trying to sell me something or accuse me of getting his daughter pregnant so I ignored him. The temp receptionist put him through to me by mistake and I encountered Dave’s assertive charm for the first time. He was a lot more restrained than I would have been in his position.
Dave explained that he was in the beer trade and hailed from Cornwall and asked if he come around the brewery when he was next visiting the area. He failed to mention that he had just won Champion Beer of Britain! Dave is a modest man. Since that first tour I have bumped into Dave a few times and have always enjoyed his company and his beer.
Last month Dave’s son Ed was down on some in at the deep end work experience at Sharp’s. Dave came down collect Ed after his last day at work and popped up to my office. It was then that I learned that Dave is terminally ill with cancer. I didn’t expect to get as upset as I did and I resolved there and then to make a beer in Dave’s honour and donate the money from the sale of the beer to a charity of his choice.
The beer will be a bottle conditioned strong golden ale which will be bottled into a limited run of 1000 champagne bottles. I asked Dave to select the hops suggesting that some of the US hops that Dave helped make so much a part of modern UK cask ale brewing would be fitting. Dave went for Willamette, Amarillo and Cascade. Dave is coming down in July to help with the brew.
The beer will be called DW and the proceeds of the sale will go to a Cornish hospice charity. I’ll update the blog as things progress.
Any help in promoting sales of the beer would be gratefully received.