Meet the Brewer: Sublime Brewing Company's Greg Aprilliano
The seasoned brewer at the Plymouth spot talks shop
With more than 65 craft breweries spread across the state (and new ones opening seemingly every week), it’s no secret that New Hampshire is home to some great beer. To help you get to know some of the Granite State’s favorite sudsy spots, we’re implementing a new series of “Meet the Brewer” profiles to introduce you to our top-notch New Hampshire breweries and the men and women behind them.
For our latest profile, meet Greg Aprilliano. He is the co-owner of Plymouth’s Sublime Brewing Company, a popular spot that strives to produce unique beers, including their own signature IPA. Read on to learn all about the 250-barrel-per-year capacity facility and their head brewing honcho.
About the Brewer
NH Magazine: What is your title at the brewery?
Greg Aprilliano: I am co-owner and brewer alongside my friend and business partner, Dave Sanborn.
NHM: How did you get into the brewing business?
GA: I have worked in the medical world as an anesthesia provider since 2002. In between classes, I began brewing, but the hobby stopped during my early professional career and anesthesia school. Once I made my way to New Hampshire in 2004, I met my good friend and current brewery business partner, Dave Sanborn. Dave is a master craftsman (he builds homes here in New Hampshire) and entrepreneur with a thirst for knowledge and challenges like no one I have ever seen. We sat and discussed how frustrating it is to find quality locally brewed craft beer in our own community. It was at this time that we hatched our crazy plan to start our own brewery while running two busy careers and having young families.
NHM: Why did you choose to work in New Hampshire? What do you appreciate about the craft beer scene here?
GA: The choice to begin the brewery here was really a direct result of where I was practicing anesthesia and raising my family. That being said, it became quite clear after doing research that New Hampshire was the perfect state to start. Citizens of New Hampshire were already buying craft beer brands across state lines, so what better excuse to start a business of our own at home.
NHM: What style(s) of beer are you personally most fond of?
GA: My first experience with craft beer was in the mid 1990s while I was at the University of Vermont. There was a local establishment there called The Vermont Pub and Brewery. It was my first experience with good beer. I loved the beer - it was unlike any I had every tried. I would later learn that the pub was owned and run by Greg Noonan. Greg is essentially the godfather of craft beer here in New England. I now compare every beer that I make and design to his, including my recollection of those experiences. Now close to 30 years later, I continue to try and match the quality of the beer from that pub. Thankfully, my fellow brewer and co-owner Dave comes in to stop me from messing with a good recipe. I really love all styles of beer!
NHM: What’s your personal favorite of the beers you make?
GA: This is a loaded question. I really do love them all. If I’m creating a new recipe and hit that elusive “sweet spot,” I will love that specific beer. I thoroughly enjoy the creative side of this. Unlike in anesthesia, I am not held to hard rules. When creating recipes, I am free to roam, free to create, free to be. That’s what its all about right? Live free or die.
About the Brewery
NHM: What’s your annual production size, in barrels?
GA: 250 BBL.
NHM: When did you open to the public?
GA: We originally opened in September 2016. Dave opened his current restaurant, The Last Chair, in July of 2016. Soon after, we decided to secure and separate a small 200 square foot section to designate as our “brewery.” We began the operation as a market test to see what type of interest our community would have in a local brewery. It turns out that we are actually the very first commercial brewery in Plymouth. Being a ski, lake and college town, we thought it had a good chance to attract interest and be successful. Our first beer produced was a pale ale. Our brewery was far too small to invite folks in to sample our beer, so we supplied The Last Chair restaurant with beer and invited the community in to give us a try. This was a great success - people loved the beer and loved that two people that are invested in the community brewed it locally. From that point on, the Last Chair was our extended brewery, a place to enjoy what we had to offer.
NHM: What sets you apart from other New Hampshire breweries? What’s unique about your style or mission?
GA: If I have learned one thing since being in the business, it is that every brewery and every brewer in New Hampshire is committed to quality and consistency of product. We all take pride in being a New Hampshire business and in working to bring our New Hampshire craft beer to the top of the heap. We play a vital role in the tourism industry and economic health of the state.
Our mission is to create the finest product possible. We do this by always pushing forward and utilizing sound scientific principles. By relentlessly striving for excellence and never accepting less, we hope to create an experience people will seek out and trust. Our core values are based in knowing that our customers and their experience is truly all that matters. We strive to bring people together, watch them enjoy our beer, laugh, tell stories and experience all they deserve.
NHM: How many beers and what styles do you offer at any given time?
GA: Blonde ale, grisstette, IPA, pale ale, session IPA, cream ale, amber ale, Baltic porter and, of course, our double IPA.
NHM: What’s your most popular beer?
GA: This is an interesting question and one that is actually difficult to answer. We have been lucky enough to find that each new beer we create finds a great deal of enthusiasm. We began with our IPA and pale ale, which are likely our best sellers. The pale ale is generously late and dry hopped with American hops, making it incredibly drinkable and pleasant. The IPA is loosely based on a New England style IPA. I do not confine myself to any strict rules regarding our styles. I create them in a way that makes them uniquely our own. While these are popular, our blonde ale, cream ale, grissette and Baltic porter are quickly gaining traction with customers.
NHM: What’s next for your brewery? Any expansions/changes or upcoming milestones or events to note?
GA: We have just moved to a new building, which is located directly behind The Last Chair restaurant. In September 2017, we moved and built our own tasting room, while also expanding brewery operation. We are currently awaiting our additional brewing equipment. Once it arrives, it will allow us to significantly expand our production. With this increased production capacity, we will now have the opportunities to get our beer out to local restaurants, bars and stores. We have many requests, but since we were so small there was no way we could confidently commit to any of them. Our first step will be to get our product to our friends in the community via kegs. The next step is to begin a canning line with our friends over at State 64.
With our expanded space we will have the ability to also begin a laboratory service in the brewery. This will go a long way in maintaining consistency and quality. The lab will also allow me to continue my work with different yeast strains to create unique beer for our customers.
NHM: Where can your beer be purchased?
GA: Our tasting room at the brewery here in Plymouth. It will soon be offered in multiple restaurants and stores throughout New Hampshire.