Last Monday longtime DCBeer.com co-editor Bill DeBaun announced he is stepping down from his role at the site. A number of his colleagues and friends shared their thoughts and memories of Bill.
Jacob Berg, formerly Co-Editor now Editor
This feels odd, not only because this is one of the rare pieces I’ve written for the site that Bill hasn’t edited, but here goes.
I “met” Bill through the magic of twitter in 2010 or so. When DC Brau launched on April 15th, 2011, I pitched him an article, and he was enthusiastic. A few months later I pitched him another. And here we are, eight years later (Happy 8th, DC Brau!).
What mostly stands out is how generous he is with his time. And not just writing, editing, thinking out loud, emotionally laboring, and other things that have been done for the benefit DCBeer.com or DC Beer Week. He’s given his time, and his pocketbook, to the DC Brewer’s Ball, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, and other charitable endeavors.
Unlike the last two editors, Bill has no plans to open or work for a brewery. He already thinks there’s too much beer, which is poison, in this city. I hope he’ll still grace us with his presence here from time to time, if only to offer up bad opinions on fruit.
Mike Stein, Senior Staff Writer
Bill’s work at DCBeer is immeasurable. Not because we couldn’t count the ridiculous amount of articles he’s written or the countless posts he’s laid eyes on prior to hitting publish, but because his work extends so far beyond the site. From DC Beer Week to the Brewers Ball, Bill has helped so many in the DC brewing community build empires which he served nobly as co-conspirator or simply as lamplighter, all in the service of others.
About nine years ago Bill and I joined the site together, meeting founder Mike Dolan at Breadsoda. At one point in time not long after we started writing for the site I joined a fantasy football league which I believe Bill commissioned. When the season ended, there was an epic bottle share at a yet-to-open brewery. If memory serves that ended with another brewery owner wrestling Bill and putting him in a headlock.
Oh, and there was great beer that day at Breadsoda, but little of it was made within a 100 mile radius. That’s all changed, as has the DC beer scene, and Bill’s played no small part in that.
Greg Parnas, Contributing writer on the law and business of craft beer
By the standards of the modern “social media influencer,” Bill DeBaun is mediocre at best. His meme gain is virtually non-existent, he has no ongoing Twitter beefs, and he continuously refuses to bad mouth people, places, or even beer, for the likes. However, by the standards of being a decent and thoughtful human being who makes a worthwhile contribution to his community, the DC craft beer community, Bill is quite alright. He’s helped me in numerous ways since I began writing for DC Beer three years ago, always being generous with his time and connections, and put up with my shenanigans. I couldn’t ask for a better editor.
Dave Coleman, Co-Founder, Co-Owner, 3 Stars Brewing
I remember Bill as a feisty young whippersnapper coming into The Big Hunt many years ago and waxing poetic about new beers, flavor profiles, the DC beer scene and the rest. This was long before 3 Stars was a thing (of beauty) and we shared countless tipples to the sounds of the always rippin jukebox. He was frequently joined by other DC Beer alum like Jake Berg, John Fluery (aka the Worst), and others. Bill would often spout nonsense about current trends, whether he liked them or not, and new and offensive beer labels that he had encountered in his ongoing mission to explore the craft beer scene.
Often, over the years, Bill would find himself caught between support and cynicism, snark or vitriol, love & regret, but his compassion and energy for the industry and community always won out. Bill has been a stalwart of the DC beer community and an advocate for making this scene better. His tenure at DCBeer has been long and well-worked, and he will be missed. Wishing him and his family the best as they move on to future endeavors. Cheers.
Tim Liu, Neighborhood Restaurant Group
It is hard to put into words the impact that Bill, and the whole DCBeer.com staff, has had on the local beer scene. Over the last decade or so, I’ve watched Bill dedicate countless amounts of his own time, energy, and money for the benefit of nearly everyone but himself. Nowhere near the least of which is me. Over the years, he has been my biggest cheerleader, whether it was highlighting the work I was doing at Scion and NRG, or co-creating and promoting some really wacky events (Blind & Bitter?). He’s also been there to guide me through some tough times and life decisions.
I can’t begin to imagine what my life, both professionally and personally, would look like without Bill. You are the best of us, and I’m grateful to call you one of my closest friends. So as you step down from DCBeer.com and step back from the local beer scene, I just want you to know that… it has been nice knowing you, but you are no longer of any use to me, please delete my number. Jake, hit me up!
A final word from Jake
Bill’s departure casts a long shadow over the site, and not just metaphorically–he’s tall!–but with Richard as publisher and many writers he recruited, edited, and otherwise coached up (including myself), I hope we’re in good hands. It won’t be the same, and it would be presumptuous to say the site will be better. How could it be? But the principles he’s established remain. It will be different without him as a colleague, yet I’m proud to continue to call him a friend. Onward.