Michael Moore enjoyed sharing a pint of cold beer, but had no thirst for the standard domestic titans.
The University of Toledo PhD student researcher was a craft beer aficionado who found a way to combine his passion with his academic work.
“He loved geography and craft beer,” Andy Moore, Mike’s brother, said.
Moore’s research on the rapidly growing artisanal industry recently was published more than a year after he died at the age of 34 from an aortic aneurysm while at a local brewpub.
“The large vessel that comes out of the heart ruptured unexpectedly,” Andy said. “Doctors told our family it’s very rare for someone that young. The fact that it happened where it did is so unusual because we loved to hang out there and watch a Tigers game.”
“Mike enjoyed debating varieties of hops and India pale ales as much and as easily as he dove into complex statistical analyses of the industry,” said Dr. Neil Reid, professor of geography and planning and director of the Jack Ford Urban Affairs Center, who is known as UT’s “Beer Professor.” “It’s devastating and sad, yet if he had to choose how to go, that’s what he would’ve chosen.”
The editors of a new volume published on the craft brewing industry called Brewing, Beer and Pubs: A Global Perspective dedicated their book to Moore, who co-authored a chapter with Reid and Ralph McLaughlin, a colleague from California. The chapter is titled “The Locational Determinants of Micro-Breweries and Brewpubs in the United States.”
The editors wrote in the dedication at the beginning of the book, “It is very fitting that Mike passed away in a local brewery.”
Moore collapsed and fell to the floor April 8, 2015, as he was sitting on a bar stool enjoying a beer.
“I was sitting next to him when it happened. We were drinking Summer Stinger, an American pale wheat ale that was just bottled the day before,” Reid said. “We were talking with a visiting scholar from Turkey about our upcoming trip to a geographers’ conference and attending the Beeronomics Conference in Seattle in the fall when I heard a thud. I thought a bar stool had fallen over. I looked down and Mike was on his back on the floor.”
“It’s still hard for our family and Mike’s longtime girlfriend, Jeanette, to process, but seeing Mike’s work being published and honored helps us find closure,” Andy said.
Moore was a doctoral student studying spatially integrated social sciences in UT’s Department of Geography and Planning.
His dissertation — left incomplete — was an examination of the spatial dynamics of the American craft beer industry.
“The craft brewing industry is growing so fast and changing the whole brewing landscape,” Reid said. “Mike analyzed where it’s growing and why. He was well on his way to being a really successful academic.”
UT posthumously awarded Moore a PhD based on his completed course work and publications while a student.
The Department of Geography and Planning created a scholarship in his memory for UT students pursuing the geography and planning field.
“I miss our Monday morning meetings and the occasional exchanging of beer-related gifts,” Reid said. “I cherish the memories — memories, by and large, created around a common love and appreciation of craft beer, the people who brew it, and the people who drink it.”
Black Cloister Brewery in downtown Toledo created a special brew last year to commemorate Moore’s life and called it Michael’s Memory. The owners contributed some of the profits to the scholarship fund.
“The outpouring of support is amazing and unexpected,” Andy said. “It’s excellent to see the fruit of all the research he had done. The recognition of Mike’s work makes it just a little bit easier to deal with his loss.”
Moore’s family is working to organize a golf outing next year to raise money for the scholarship fund.
Gifts can be made at give2ut.utoledo.edu to the Geography and Planning Progress Fund.