Vale: Keith M. Deutsher, Brewery Historian

Australian brewery historian Keith Deutsher has passed away aged 98.

In addition to being a life member and former president of beer label and brewing ephemera collectors group, the Victorian Beer Label Collector’s Society, Deutsher was the author of the ambitious book The Breweries of Australia : A History.

The Breweries of Australia, a compulsory addition to the bookshelves of anyone with an interest in Australian brewing history, was published in 1999 and billed as the first complete record of Australia’s brewing heritage.

Current president of the VBLCS, Rob Greenaway, said he had known the retired businessman for for more than 35 years with Deutsher mentoring him into the role of society President.

“When I first met Keith over 35 years ago he mentioned to me that it was important to capture the history of brewing and it’s development within Australia,” Greenaway told Brews News.

“Many would seek the quiet life of retirement but not Keith.”

His book ‘’The Breweries of Australia – A history” was first released in 1999, with a second edition featuring Australia’s burgeoning micro-brewing industry published in 2012.

“The books are collector pieces for those interested in Brewing history and the development of the craft brewing industry,” Greenaway said.

Thunder Road Brewing Company founder and avid beer ephemera collector Philip Withers was greatly influenced by Deutsher’s work, naming his brewery’s historical library in honour of his mentor.

“Keith taught us the importance of reflecting on history when building a business and to keep moving forward in times of trouble,” Withers said in a Facebook tribute.

“He demonstrated ‘achieving’ is possible at any age.”

The Keith Deutsher library at the brewery is a repository of hundreds of rare brewing books and antique artefacts collected by Withers detailing every aspect of Australia’s brewery history. The library is open to the public by appointment.

In addition to documenting the history of Australian breweries, Deutsher was also a collector of antique ceramics. Thunder Road’s Facebook post notes he founded the Wedgwood Society of Australia and donated his collection of Wedgwood, one of the world’s top 10 collections, to the National Gallery of Victoria

Keith passed away peacefully on Wednesday 15th April. He was 98. Keith’s wife Norma passed only a few months ago.

Read more about The Breweries of Australia: A History.

*Photographs courtesy Thunder Road Brewing Company.

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