Although growing, the Louisiana beer scene has been small and tight-knit for a number of years. Beer lovers and brewers have formed a community through interactions at events, breweries and bars.
While it’s wonderful to have so many kindred spirits to share and enjoy the growth of the beer world, the closeness of the craft beer universe means that when it loses a member, the impact reverberates throughout the state.
Sheila Guidry wasn’t a brewer or beer professional. She was an educator and administrator who loved beer almost as much as she loved her husband Toby Guidry and daughter Daisy Guidry. Though they lived near Baton Rouge, Sheila was a familiar face at New Orleans beer events, often found with a barrel-aged stout or sour ale of some sort in hand.
Sheila died on Aug 20, after having difficulty breathing while at a concert. She was 44.
Her death is a loss not only for her friends and family members but for the beer community at large. Online beer communities raised a glass and made plans to support Toby and Daisy. Her memorial service was attended by brewers, bar owners and fellow beer lovers, all touched by her smile, wicked sense of humor, kindness and love of life.
"Sheila was always supportive of the local beer scene, from things as simple as attending American Craft Beer Week, Louisiana Craft Beer Week, or other special events either in New Orleans or Baton Rouge areas, to volunteering to serve at beer fests, We even managed to draft her into judging once." says her husband Toby Guidry. "She used to pick on me that since I knew so many people in the beer world, both locally and nationally, that I was King of the Beer Nerds. She was deserving of the title of Queen."
Polly Watts, owner of The Avenue Pub says, "What made Sheila special to me were ... her wickedly smart sense of humor, incredible devotion and sacrifice for her family. She was a just a great human being."
Raise a glass to Sheila, though preferably not an IPA, since she didn't care for Simcoe, Citra, and Mosaic hops. The beer scene is more than bricks and mortar and grains and yeast, it’s all about the people who love beer. In Louisiana, there’s one less of those people here today.