Five Most Important Figures in Craft Brewing

Lists proliferate at the end of the year, and most of them are useful for starting conversations--but not a lot else. The New York Observer identifies the five most important figures in craft brewing, though, and it's hard to argue with their list:
  • Jack McAullife, who founded the first micro (New Albion).
  • Fritz Maytag, who provided a blueprint for the modern micro (Anchor).
  • Ken Grossman, who founded Sierra Nevada.
  • Jim Koch, who founded Boston Beer and pioneered contract craft brewing.
  • Fred Eckhardt, the "dean of American beer writers."
It's an intriguing question. Importance is difficult to identify. All of the Observer's choices are respectable and defensible, but if I were to put together a list, it wouldn't include the three California brewers. You could make the argument than any of them "founded" craft brewing, but maybe all three is overkill. Jim Koch is a great businessman, and founding a beer business based on a contract-brewing model was actually pretty brilliant. (Though most people haven't forgiven him for it.) And Fred is clearly the most important beer writer in US history, but was he the most important writer? I'd probably go with this five:
  • Fritz Maytag. When people regale the story of Anchor, Fritz gets credit for rehabbing an ancient brewery and bringing back the steam beer style. But his biggest contribution was showing that it was possible to find a market that would buy traditional, expensive all-barley and whole-hop beer.
  • Ken Grossman. He was one of the pioneers in craft brewing and put all the elements together. One of the most important aspects of his approach was quality control, which is not incidental in Sierra Nevada's longtime success.
  • Bert Grant. All the brewers in the Observer's list are production breweries, but Bert was the first one to see the potential in brewpubs.
  • Dave Logsdon. If you've ever read the story about Redhook brewing, you know that yeast wasn't always easy to find. Americans didn't really know how to brew, and yeast was a topic mostly beyond their ken. Logsdon, who founded Wyeast, is perhaps more responsible than any brewer for the proliferation of authentic beer styles in the US.
  • Michael Jackson. Although I love the Observer's choice of the most colorful, lovable figure in Beervana, I'd say that it was Michael Jackson's World Guide to Beer that set brains spinning.
But as lists are principally for starting discussions, I throw it back you--who would you include?