RORY CROGHAN RIP
Our great friend Rory Croghan passed away last Friday morning, in a hospital in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Rory ended his journey where he had always planned to end it, in Africa. To those of you who know him well, and loved him, as I did, this will bring a great sense of relief. You see , Rory never really left Africa, it was in his blood, and soon he will be a part of the parched red soil he called his home.
I first met him at our makeshift lab in the old Meantime brewery in Penhall Road in 2000. He was dispatch riding in London and was finding it pretty perilous. He had been a partner in a brewery in Harare, Zimbabwe, called the Beer Engine, and had learnt to brew there. Brewing and beer were his passion, and over the next 14 years he was to become a Meantime brewing legend. Never on time for anything, nicknamed ‘Snorey’ he wrote the manual on how to hold down a job while breaking every rule in the book. He managed this quite simply because everyone who knew him loved him. He had no enemies and walked through life with a wonderful smile, an amazingly strong intellect, and a huge heart. He had the habit of slowing down the clock and wanted people around him to live in a time-warp, in a place he could call home. He loved to tell me how he had never held down a job for more than 6 months before… and then chuckled before getting on with his work.
When he wasn’t at work he was a fixture at the Greenwich Union, with a glass of ‘Paley Aley’ in his hands. People would always have time to listen to his deeply intellectual understanding of African politics, always footnoted with his heart-felt wish to return to ‘Zim’ once Mugabe had departed. He could talk to anyone , about anything, and in many ways echoed the spirit of The Greenwich Union and Meantime in their entirety.
Without Rory who is to say Meantime would have been the success story it is. He was our shaman, our four-leafed Clover and our heart, everything that was great about people, and nothing that was bad, all rolled in to one. He called himself a mongrel…Irish-African…we just knew him as Crog. He was always great counsel to me during tough-times and held the brewing team together in ways they probably never noticed.
I wont be the only one who feels blessed to have known him, I wont be the only one crying in to my beer tonight. I will forever cherish his memories and hope you will do the same. There are very few people who have that innate abilty to bring meaning, honesty and happiness to all around them, and genuinely can be considered to be too good for this world.
I will be at the Greenwich Union next Friday evening 11th August for a ‘Paley Aley’ and hope to share ‘Crog’ stories with all of you who loved him too.