PAT PILCHER reports on the sudden death of Witchdoctor’s beer guru and wordsmith supreme, Neil Miller.
Neil played a significant role as Wellington’s craft beer scene grew by connecting and educating people on the many intricacies of craft beer with his lowkey but highly engaging and entertaining wit.
I first met Neil through an organised beer tasting walk around Wellington’s many emerging craft beer bars. Neil’s encyclopaedic knowledge of beer and great sense of humour made the walk a lot of fun. It was a great night out.
At the time I was also working for a large corporate, and staff morale there could only be described as dire. It soon became apparent that beer (and lots of it) was needed to lift the mood. After approaching Neil, a beer tasting was organised after work on a Friday night.
Armed with an improbable and large selection of brilliant craft beers (and carefully matched food), Neil’s articulate patter combined with his incredible beer knowledge to win everyone over. Everyone had a great time and learned a lot about beer. The impact of Neil on my workplace’s morale was immediate, and I am pleased to report, long-lasting.
Since then, I’d stayed in touch with Neil, often enjoying his hilarious and clever Twitter posts and debating the merits of various beer styles.
When I got involved with Witchdoctor, it wasn’t long before Neil joined us to write about beer. His sparkling prose turned mundane topics (such as his beer glass collection) into memorable stories that made you chuckle out loud as you read.
Neil was a really good guy who I enjoyed spending time with. He was also a great writer. We at Witchdoctor wish to extend our condolences to Neil’s family.
Rest in peace Neil, you’ll be missed.