noonanVermont Pub and Brewery owner and brewer Greg Noonan died in his sleep at home early Sunday morning.  According to this Beer Advocate forum post visitors to the Vermont Pub and Brewery on Sunday found the pub closed, with a sign posted: “Greg Noonan  March — 1951 – Oct. 11th 2009. ”

We always enjoyed chatting with Greg, who had some of the best craft beer stories to share in Vermont.   Always approachable and generous, he had a strong impact on many brewers in our region.  His reach though, was in fact much further than just our small state.   Debbie Cerda, the Austin TX craft beer examiner had this to say:

His books on brewing are mandatory reading for both home and microbrewers, including “New Brewing Lager: The Most Comprehensive Book for Home and Microbrewers” published in 1986 and re-issued in 2003. His sour-mashing techniques were featured in this article which appeared in the October 2008 edition of Brew Your Own magazine.

He was a well-known speaker at brewers’ conferences and author of numerous trade journal articles and books.

Greg was instrumental in getting “brewpubs” legalized in Vermont, lobbying the State for years to legalize small pub brewing and distribution.  In New England he is often spoken of as the “Godfather” of brewing in Vermont and we have not met a brewery owner in the state that hasn’t referenced Greg in at least one aspect of their own brewery.  Many sources cite that his lobbying work and research in Vermont was used as a basis to legalize pub brewing in other states as well.

In 2005, Greg received an award for innovation in brewing from the American Brewers Guild.  Business People-Vermont reported on Greg in this article:

Noonan was brewing beer as a hobby while working as a manufacturing manager for paper and wood products companies in Massachusetts. Microbreweries were just becoming trendy on the West Coast, and he decided to pursue the commercial possibilities for his craft.

He had managed restaurants in New Hampshire and Boston and wanted his own restaurant to feature his brew. He used the results of his research for Brewing Lager Beer to launch his brewpub in Burlington.

“I specifically sited my brewery in Burlington because it’s where I wanted to live. I admired the politics in Vermont,” says Noonan. “I had $175,000, which is a shoestring budget in the brewing industry; brewing equipment is very expensive.”
He applied to several banks for additional funds, but lenders were skeptical. “The banks all said, ‘What is a brewpub?’ But I plunged on anyway with the money I had.”

Greg Noonan was an inspirational brewer, not only in the larger context of his influence on the industry as a whole, but also on a personal level.  At any visit to the Vermont Pub and Brewery Greg was happy to talk “shop” and share a pint.  Our last meeting with Greg was at the Craft Brewers Conference, where always a good sport in the interest of beer, he “volunteered” to be in this video at cask night.  His generosity and dedication to the craft brewing world will be missed throughout Vermont and undoubtedly throughout the entire brewing community.

The background on Greg in this post was shared by Debbie Cerda, be sure to subscribe to her blog.
Tags: Craft Brewer, homebrew, Vermont Beer Bars

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  1. dann

    Thank you very much for that magnificent article

  2. Scott

    Very nice tribute. While I didn’t know of him, Greg Noonan sounds like a genuinely nice guy and someone who will be missed. My thoughts are with his family and friends.

  3. Hyperlink

    I think it has not yet hit me the impact Greg’s death will have. As his summer time neighbor on the lake I can recall many nights of chats. I remember the day I told him I was starting to brew with a cheap Mr. Beer kit. He said that’s a good place to start but its hard to grow with kit beer, if you want to live just jump in. I think I will miss his laid back smile, willingness to listen to any story and extreme generosity the most. There will be a large empty hole when my wife and I go out to the lake this summer. I will miss you Greg and suddenly wish I had more time to chat good bye my friend.

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