I took down the logo for the Cracked Kettle beer store in Amsterdam today. I removed it after getting an email advising that the shop closed a few months back and that owner Jeff Cunningham had died in June after a few months of terminal illness. Sad news. I never met Jeff but had worked with him now and again since the late fall of 2006. His shop paid for the ads in beer shipped to me and other writers then populating the blog as proof of how fine the service was. Knut, micro-famously, had to sit around waiting for a delivery and then got hit by the Norwegian tax man. They also sent care packages to me, to the States and to England, too. In 2008, Lars won a t-shirt from Cracked Kettle in the Christmas photo contest. Ah, for the days of free style happy go lucky beer blogging.
Jeff, along with partner Andy, ran a shop that struck me a something of a ground breaker even if it was only six years ago. Rereading his emails, it is easy to see how he was really excited to be stocking some of the great beers of Europe, providing solid service - and figured he had managed a way to make airlifting it direct to beer fans make sense. And bringing US craft to Europe before others. From the Wayback Machine, it appears that the shop started as a plan to make a micro-brewery in Amsterdam in 2003. Sad to hear of his passing. Some beer fans left their thoughts over at RateBeer.