Microbrewery Pioneer Passes

Peter Austin, who revived the microbrewery movement in the UK and helped to introduce it to the US, died January 1st at the age of 92.

Austin founded the famed Ringwood brewery in 1978 after taking a three year sabbatical from his previous 30 years as a head brewer for larger companies.

In 1982 Alan Pugsley joined and trained under Austin, and together they installed more than 120 breweries worldwide. Their biggest impact was here in the US, where 74 breweries were built using the Austin brewing system. Pugsley immigrated to the US, where he helped set up those who purchased the system, including the DL Geary Brewing Company in Portland, Maine. This author trained on an Austin system at the Wm S. Newman Brewing Company in Albany, NY in 1983.

Pugsley went on to open his own Shipyard brewery in Portland in 1992 and Peter gave him permission to brew Old Thumper under license.

He also helped found and was the first chairman of the Small Independent Brewers’ Association, now the Society of Independent Brewers, set up in 1980.