A Wake for
Morten Christian Meilgaard
November. 11th, 1928 - April 11th, 2009
Morten tilling boat in Australia, 1962
"I can still recall" he said to
me recently, "How you came downstairs and crawled into bed and
curled up with me. I was emotionally shaken by the lack of shyness
by this young boy I barely knew. You won my heart that day."
It was Barking, England, 1957. Morten had just started dating Manon
and was feeling some trepidation that she had this little boy.
Morten Christian Meilgaard was
born on Fyn,
in 1928. His younger siblings, Ida, Jørgen and Erik, followed in
short succession. As their father, Anton Meilgaard, was a country
doctor, they were brought up in a rural mileau in Morud. Their
school was a considerable distance away, and during some winters,
they would ski to pursue their education.
Morten caught the travel bug early, taking a road trip with his
friends Finn and Torben, pulling a creaky four-wheeled cart around
Jutland in 1944, during the German occupation of Denmark.
After WWII, Morten pursued
of a degree as a
chemical engineer and became rapidly became a research
chemist specializing in yeasts for
Jørgensens Laboratorium in
Copenhagen. This dovetailed nicely with his love of
travel, and his job took him all over the World. He was the "Johnny
Appleseed" of establishing the flavors for beer
throughout the World, including in Japan, South Africa and the
Morten's contribution to the field of sensory
science cannot be underestimated; it was truly extensive.
Amongst his many contributions, He is the major contributor to
the flavor wheel, a Rosetta Stone of sensory evaluation science.
Morten's publication, "Sensory Evaluation Techniques" is the
educational standard in this field of science. He was quite
possibly the foremost expert in his field.
his work and travels in England, he met Manon Meadows. They fell in
love and remained married for almost fifty years, until her death in
Justin Meilgaard, Morten's and
Manon's son, was born in England, 1966.
In 1967, the entire family, including Manon's mother, Doris Meadows
moved from Denmark to Monterrey Mexico where Morten worked for the
Cuauhtemoc Brewery from 1967 to 1973.
In 1973, Morten was hired by
Peter Stroh of the Stroh Brewery, Detroit, where he worked as
Peter's right hand man until the Brewery was acquired by the Miller
Brewing company in 1999, at which point Morten retired.
Even after retirement, he
continued to be active in his profession for many years, doing
consulting jobs for the Danish Government, working with his
co-editors on a revised edition of his book, and donating his
extensive collection of brewing literature to
In 2008 Morten returned to
Sweden to visit family and revisit the important sites of his
childhood and early adulthood.
Morten is survived by His younger
brothers and sister, Jorgen, Erik and Ida and his sons, Justin
Meilgaard and myself.
The purpose of life
is a life of purpose.