The Hudson Valley is mourning the loss of a brewing icon.

Tommy Keegan, the founder of Keegan Ales in Kingston, died on Friday of an apparent heart attack. According to the brewery's Facebook page, Keegan was out motorcycle riding with a friend when the tragic incident occurred. Members of the Ulster County Sheriff's Department and local paramedics responded to the scene, but efforts to revive Keegan were unsuccessful.

In 2003, before much of the world was interested in craft beer, Tommy Keegan decided to purchase a run-down old brewery in Kingston and have a go at brewing his own beer. With a master's degree in brewing, Keegan put his skills to work and within a few months, he was up and running. Keegan Ales started by hand, with Tommy marketing his beers to local bars and restaurants himself. Mother's Milk, the brewery's signature stout, became an instant hit, even winning a coveted Gold Medal at TAP NY. And that was just the beginning.

For the next two decades, Keegan continued to innovate. A collaboration with IHOP on a pumpkin pancake stout made headlines across the country, while an experiment with combining breakfast cereals and beer drew long lines at one of his many trips to TAP NY. Keegan Ales' beers are among the Hudson Valley's favorites. Hurricane Kitty, named after Keegan's mother, was one of the first beers brewed by the company and continues to be a top seller to this day. Aside from brewing beer, Keegan was also an active member of the community, participating in countless charitable endeavors including his support of the O+ Festival.

The brewery announced that they would remain open this weekend, despite the sad news. The business decided "it's what Tommy would want." A celebration of his life is already being planned and details will be announced at a later date.

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