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Alan Eames

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DUMMERSTON -- Alan D. Eames, 59, of Rice Farm Road, dubbed “the Indiana Jones of Beer” and “The Beer King,” by the world media, died unexpectedly at his home on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007.

An internationally recognized beer historian, author, consultant, and beer anthropologist, Mr. Eames was held in high regard for his incredible recall of historic facts, and ability to weave them into his lectures and writings.

Mr. Eames was the author of “A Beer Drinker's Companion,” “Blood, Sweat and Beers,” and “The Oldenburg Beer Drinkers Bible.”

Mr. Eames wrote about the role of beer in ancient and traditional societies for a variety of publications, but his most notable work was the now-classic book, “Secret Life of Beer.”

He provided entries spanning ancient times through the mid-19th century in his contributions to “The Encyclopedia of Beer.” Travels to the tombs of Egypt and the Amazon River were a source of information for his studies, as well as research trips throughout Europe and the United Kingdom.

Mr. Eames was a founding director of the American Museum of Brewing History and Fine Arts in Ft. Mitchell, Ky., and a founding director at large for the North American Guild of Beer Writers.

Speaking on the ancient and pivotal role of beer in human societies, Mr. Eames lectured throughout the United States and made regular national and international radio and television appearances to explain the history of beer. He also consulted on a variety of Hollywood feature films, lending historical expertise to beer- and barroom-related scenes.

Mr. Eames was awarded the gold medal for excellence in historical research by the Brewers Association of Europe, which included a travel and study grant to seven countries. He is listed with the American Anthropological Association's directory on alcohol and drug research.

Once a keynote speaker with the late former President Gerald Ford at the National Beer Wholesalers Convention in New Orleans, on the same day, Mr. Eames received All About Beer magazine's Lifetime Achievement Award, the only time the award has been given in the magazine's history.

Mr. Eames was born in Gardner, Mass., on April 16, 1947, the son of Warren Baker Eames, a Harvard-educated anthropologist, and Mavis Franks of Bunkie, La.

His earliest venture into entrepreneurial life was at the age of 11, when he advertised his entertainment services to ladies clubs in Templeton, Mass., in performing professional-quality magic tricks. His talents as a magician were an essential part of his life, as he continued to craft successful ventures from thin air.

He attended Cushing Academy and was a graduate of Mark Hopkins College in Brattleboro, Vt. While at Mark Hopkins, he met his first wife, Brewster Paley.

Mr. Eames had a lifelong passion for art and artifacts. In 1968, he moved to New York City, where he owned and operated the Eames Gallery on Lexington Avenue, with great success, gaining fame as the sole gallery featuring the early works of modern expressionist Thor Carlsson.

In the mid-1970s, Eames' beer-related business ventures began with his acquisition and ownership of Gleason's Package Store, in Templeton, Mass., where he stocked his shelves with hundreds of unknown and unique beers from the far reaches of the world.

The store became legendary throughout the beer industry, owing to its prodigious and sophisticated selection of beer, ale and related artifacts.

With his then-wife, Georgia Griffin, he moved to Portland, Maine, where his first son, Adrian, was born. In Portland, he conceived, engineered and operated the landmark Three Dollar Dewey's Ale House.

In 1985 he brought an establishment of the same name and atmosphere to Brattleboro. It was in Brattleboro that he was married to Anne Latchis, with whom he had two children, Andrew Eames and Elena Eames.

He raised his family in Brattleboro, and continued his work as journalist, beer historian and consultant to the beer industry. Eames provided the concepts, historical research and marketing ideas for introducing Xingu Black Beer, owned and imported by Amazon Inc. and Anne Latchis.

For more than 30 years, Eames was a consultant to numerous beer ventures including brew pubs, microbreweries, beer-fests, and many notable breweries and importers, including Guinness, Beck's, and Pete's Wicked Ale. In the process, he became an advisor for Pete Slosberg, Jim Koch, David Geary and many other pioneers of modern American brewing.

Many Brattleboro-area residents may remember Mr. Eames as the loquacious bartender at the former Latchis Brew Pub and Grille.

In 2005, at Rudyard Kipling's home, Naulakha, he was married to Sheila Momaney. Together they made their home in Dummerston, and living there with his family was a source of great pleasure and comfort to him.

Mr. Eames had a lifelong passion for ghost stories. In the awful, Eames found strange beauty and of these things, he was a scholar without peer.

He had great admiration for the author, H.P. Lovecraft. Together, he and his wife successfully created the Lovecraft in Vermont Festival in 2006 as a celebration of Lovecraft's life and ties to Vermont.

Mr. Eames cherished his wife, and was devoted to caring for his stepsons, Riley Johnson and Logan Johnson. His closest neighbors were his mother- and father-in-law, Francis and Jean Momaney, whom he loved and admired.

Mr. Eames is survived by his loving wife Sheila; his sons, Adrian Eames and Andrew Eames, his daughter, Elena Eames; his grandson, Alexander Baker Eames, and his stepsons.

He also survived by his father of East Templeton and York Beach, Maine; and his mother, of Denham Springs, La.; a sister, Holiday Eames of Westminster, nieces Eve and Taylor McNeill and nephew David Cohen; his half-brother Mark Warner, and innumerable “adopted” sons and daughters whom he guided through dark times and bright.

He leaves behind him many scholars, adventurers, pirates, bootleggers and bookworms who all regarded him as a man of vast intellect, unquenchable passion, and sure-footed, clear-eyed counsel and wisdom. He was a mentor to many, a friend to all that met him, and will be greatly missed by all.

Calling hours at the ATAMANIUK FUNERAL HOME in Brattleboro are scheduled for Friday from 6 to 9 p.m.

He loved all animals, especially turtles and cats, and had adopted several cats from the Windham County Humane Society. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to WCHS, 916 West River Road, Brattleboro, VT 05301.u
Published in Brattleboro Reformer from Feb. 12 to Feb. 14, 2007
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