A Toast to Ray

I’d like to take a moment to remember Ray Deter, owner of the famed beer and whisky bar d.b.a. here in New York and in New Orleans. Ray passed away this past Sunday, July 3rd, as a result of injuries he sustained in a bicycle accident last week.

I wasn’t around when d.b.a. burst onto the scene in New York in the 90′s, but by all accounts, Ray – and his partner Dennis – in many ways transformed drinking in New York. They were pioneers in helping to introduce the craft of beer (and later whisky) to a city that had been languishing in mass-produced malted water for far too long.

I came to really know d.b.a. much later, through my good friend Simon Glenn, who hosts Tchoup Shop – a pop-up New Orleans barbecue in the backyard of d.b.a brooklyn every Sunday during the summer. I went to d.b.a. for the good food and friends, but found a wonderful community of people, and a new appreciation for truly good beer. I’m grateful for both.

I didn’t really know Ray. I met him once or twice simply in my capacity as a patron of d.b.a. But his personality and passion were infectious, and his impact on both New York and New Orleans is undeniable. His loss is tragic, and my thoughts are with his family, which I know includes all those at d.b.a., and his friends during this difficult time.

I feel I’d be remiss if I didn’t take just one brief moment to remind everyone how critically important it is to wear a helmet when riding a bike. It’s not my intention in any way to chastise Ray after his passing, but the very idea that his loss may have been prevented is reason enough for us all to remember just how important that piece of plastic really is. I can’t help but think that if Ray were here, he’d be shouting it from the rooftops.

I’d like to close by sharing a few other remembrances that I’ve come across in the past few days, and also by reminding you to keep an eye on d.b.a.’s Facebook page, where they’ll be sharing details of Ray’s public memorial, which will likely include a New Orleans-style Second Line sometime next week.

Cheers to you, Ray.

-Josh

Tags: beer, d.b.a., memorial, Ray Deter

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