NWA “Godfather” of Microbrewing to Debut Albion Ale

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

In the beer world, Jack McAuliffe is a rock star of epic proportions.

You might even call him the "Godfather" of Microbrewing.

Jack is a retired engineer and he doesn't look like a celebrity, but he's a certified legend in the microbrewery world.

After serving in the Navy as a young man in Scotland, and a drinking a few good ales, he stumbled into a bookstore with a brand new mission.

"On the shelf was something called the big book of brewing. Right next to it was a little kit that allowed you to make 5 gallons of homeade beer. So I said when I get back to the States, I'm not going to be able to have beers like I've been drinking here. So I better learn how to make them myself."

In 1976, Jack started to build the "New Albion Brewing Company" in Sonoma, California, America's first microbrewery.

Back then, Jack's idea seemed out of this world.

"They looked at me and said, 'What?' Like I had just arrived from Mars and I was speaking Martian to them. They could not get the idea."

Jack used old dairy equipment to build a makeshift brewery with his own hands.

Consider this: Without Jack McAuliffe, there may never have been a Samuel Adams.

Now, the Boston Brewing Company is honoring Jack's contributions with a brand new Albion Ale.

"About a week ago at the Great American Beer Festival, the beer was released and it'll be available nationwide starting in January."

Microbrewers have now taken significant market share away from the big three: Budweiser, Miller, and Coors.

That's right, a beer pioneer right in our own backyard.

"I heard somone say this is the golden age of brewing in the United States."

You can meet Jack McAuliffe at Fayetteville's Tanglewood Branch Pub.

That's where the new Albion Ale will make its Northwest Arkansas debut in January.

Even though Jack started an entire industry, his new Albion Brewing Company went out of business after a few short years.

The beer was good, but the interest rates weren't in the late 70s, and he was never able to secure any big-time investors.

Now, 36 years later, Jack will finally cash in.

Samuel Adams is honoring Jack by giving him the profits from his special edition brew.