American historian and biographer, Robert D. Richardson, once said: "If death is the end of everything, then living is everything." Taking a moment to let that sink in, this writer recalls a simpler quote which asks each individual to live life to the fullest. It is to this end that we recognize the passage of brewery pioneer George Hancock, who subscribed to this philosophy.

image sourced from costaneracreative's Instagram account, for use as part of commentary
George Hancock (left)
As a freelance contributor (or blogger), I have the distinct advantage of both reporting and engaging those that live within this website. Hearing of George's living-departure was both unfortunate and something I needed time to reflect on. And it was something that I could not summarize less than 24 hours after it occurred.

On many occasions, I took the opportunity to converse with George. Reflecting back I can still hear the English accent, softened from decades of living in the United States. Often the conversation focussed on the topic of beer, descending into subtopics on brewing technique, cask versus firkin versus draft, or even George's preference towards ales over lagers. Occasionally we would discuss his childhood or his young-adult experiences sitting in a pub, sipping on "real ales". But most of the time it was easy to meditate as George spoke of his past.

History teachers remind us to observe the past so that we circumvent its mistakes while growing from its achievements. Looking back at George's lifetime we see a paladin for Washington and Arizona's craft brewers, an accomplished career in three industries (in accounting, software, and brewing), and above all a man who had a passion for every facet of humanity. With his passing, the universe has deprived a connection to beer's past, but his ground-breaking will continue to impact generations into the future.

George Hancock, born in her majesty's England, enjoyed life on his own terms, passed away on March 14th, 2016, at the age of 71.

A post-script to this acknowledgement, there will be a moment for friends and supporters to reflect on the man who was George Hancock. On Saturday, March 18th, the Washington Brewers Guild will encourage all guests at the Cask Festival to raise a toast in honour. While in Arizona, where George and his late partner Gregory Fretz started Phoenix Ale Brewery, the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild will host a wake, March 18th in the evening.
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