Gregg, what do you do at Rhinegeist?
I manage sales for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
What did you have for breakfast?
I had scrambled eggs with Dubliner cheese and sour dough from Blue Oven bakery. Every morning that’s my breakfast — gotta set a good base.
Have you read anything good lately?
I’ve actually been on a downturn on my reading, but Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin comes to mind. It’s one of the most impactful pieces of reading material that I’ve dove into in a long time. It’s amazing that someone like Abe Lincoln existed. In business, management, leadership, being a good father and husband, he was super human in his ability to not be stirred.
What’s your Rhinegeist story?
I worked with Jim Matt (our head brewer) at Moerlein Lager House. He was my tutor in beer and helped me get my bearings production-wise. Jim told me he was leaving for this upstart at Rhinegeist and I always kept in touch with him. All along I felt like Rhinegeist was the right fit for me when hearing his updates and following the progress. Rhinegeist has something special that I have never found at any other organization. I haven’t seen it or experienced it. This place is goddamn magical. And the beer is awesome, can’t forget that.
If friends used three words to describe you, what would they be?
Thoughtful, stubborn and industrious.
What’s your beer world experience, Gregg?
I started at Ohio University. There are so many people in the industry that come from there. I mean, in Athens, there’s not much to do sometimes except drink beer. I used to pick up mix six-packs, and then got into home brewing, then I was brewing four times a week; so I began looking for a job in the beer world. I worked for a distributor, Premium Beverage, and managed the Cincy market. There I got tutelage from Derek Zomonski, who now works at Bells, one of the most knowledgeable reps in the industry. Then I took a production gig brewing beer at Moerlein Lager House. To have my first production experience to be mentored by Richard Dube and Jim Matt, that was pretty incredible. After a while both of those guys moved on and I moved up to the head brewer position. When an opportunity arose at Rhinegeist I jumped and transitioned back into sales.
Do you have a spirit animal?
A honeybee: industrious, focused on the community, all about team building and working alongside a team. They also make sweet delicious honey and are focused on family.
What’s your favorite Rhinegeist beer?
Pure Fury, it’s just perfectly balanced, everything about it. It’s clean, bright, layered and nuanced, and that continues with each drink you take of it. Also, every time I have it I think it gets better.
Is there a piece of apparel you wear the most?
The trucker hat, I mean, I’m wearing it right now.
What do you enjoy most about this place?
The fact that if you have an opinion, and you voice it, people will always listen, process and give you an earnest response. Also, someone is always willing to step in and help; and that helping never comes with an expectation of repayment, truly openly giving.
On average how many times do you sing in the shower per week?
It used to be seven. It’s only about three now. My wife and I like to introduce a shitty but catchy song, and we'll end up just throwing our own lyrics onto that tune.
What’s your favorite sandwich?
Sourdough with hummus, turkey, sharp cheddar and fresh onion grilled on an iron skillet, almost like a grilled cheese.
What’s something about you most people don’t know?
I had dreadlocks at one point, as well as had purple, blue and green hair at two different stages during my teens and 20’s. I played with a couple bands. Oh yeah, and I used to have a radio show on WAIF 88.3 FM called ‘Off the Rails’ on Mondays from 10 pm to midnight. I did that for a lot of years. That’s how I met my wife.
Oh boy, gotta say more…
Well, my wife and I had always run in similar social circles, it was a one-degree of separation kind of thing. While I was doing my radio show, I had a sponsorship with Shake it Records in which I would borrow CDs and records for that week’s set. One fateful day when I was there in the front of the store picking up that week’s stock, she was in the back, I had no idea. I hadn’t seen her in something like two years when she came out of the back in order to feed the parking meter. When I saw her I asked for her number, which is odd because that is really not my style. We now have a picture of that parking meter at our house — thanks Andrew Higley for the photo. If she didn’t need to feed the meter, I probably never would have run into her.
So you toured with a band?
Yeah I played a lot of music with Readymaid. They were looking for a multi-instrumentalist and I can play saxophone, guitar, bass, and the vibraphone. It was six guys and we all swapped instruments, quite the circus show of musicianship. I still have some of the 45 red vinyls we produced.
Also, I played my first show when I was 16 at Sudsy Malone’s. I wasn’t even old enough to get into the bar, but they let me play. It was a school night.
What’s the best part of your personality?
I’d say empathy. I try to be as understanding as I can with other people’s needs and concerns and try to tailor my responses and actions based on those needs.
What’s your best dish in the kitchen?
I love cooking so it’s hard to pick. I think my mashed potatoes. They are as soft as a pillow, something you’ll wanna lay your head down on. They’re soft, silky and I use enough butter to kill several human beings. I also make a mean Tuscan-style brick chicken.
What are you looking forward to about the future?
Constantly learning, being introduced to new ideas and thoughts, and pushing myself to understand more of anything I can possibly wrap my head around.
I’m excited to see who my children end up becoming.
Also, to eventually get another BMW or VW. I have owned many VW’s and my baby was a 1991 BMW 325is, a coupe with no AC, clearly not a car for children. When it comes down to it, I love German cars. I love working on cars, probably should have mentioned that earlier.