About the Author
Beginning in 1980 when he set out to visit all nine of Pennsylvania's breweries that were still in business, the author's path seems to have been one of total immersion. Traveling throughout the state, he began to notice the hulking remains of long gone breweries dotting the landscape and set out to create a photographic inventory of all standing brewery buildings in Pennsylvania. At this point he has visited well over 400 sites and found something to photograph at nearly half of them.
By 1983 Rich tried his hand at homebrewing and before long had set up a gas-fired system in a friend's basement utilizing an old beer keg as a kettle. In 1990 he interpreted colonial brewing using replicas of seventeenth century equipment at Pennsbury Manor, a reconstruction of William Penn's country estate on the Delaware. Within three years he had worked with a cooper over an eight month period to manufacture his own system starting with two cypress logs. That year he went on a cross country journey to demonstrate brewing techniques of antiquity. He was a high school science teacher who traveled extensively during the summers, visiting national parks and geologic sites throughout the nation and during the 1980s as the craft brewing renaissance began to take hold, found many craft breweries to visit as well. To date he has visited well over 600 breweries throughout the United States and Canada.
His research into Pennsylvania breweries continued and got deeper and more serious, visiting libraries and historical societies and amassing a great deal of information. Rich became involved with breweriana collectors and joined some of their organizations. He developed tours of breweries past and present for Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, the Lehigh Valley, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and south-central Pennsylvania. Some of these were sponsored by breweriana clubs, others by historical societies and other organizations. He published guidebooks to go with each tour and also issued a number of posters.
Finally, the inevitable came and his avocation overtook his vocation. Rich took very early retirement from his teaching career in order to participate in the emerging craft brewing industry. He attended the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago where he received a diploma in brewing technology and spent seven years working in Philadelphia's craft breweries. He has spent a decade as an officer of District Philadelphia, Master Brewers Association of the Americas, most of that time as Secretary and Membership Chair.
He currently spends his time researching and writing about Pennsylvania breweries and brewing techniques of antiquity. He is a speaker and demonstrates colonial brewing.