Godspeed, Greg Rapp

Last month, the Florida brewing community lost one of the greats. Greg Rapp passed away after a hard-fought battle with cancer. This past weekend, we celebrated his life at Rapp Brewing Company with great beer, delicious German fare, and people that loved him. I had an opportunity to speak a few words in Greg’s honor, so I figured I would share them here as well. And as it happens, today is Greg’s birthday.


Legend. The word gets thrown around a lot these days. Sometimes deservedly so: Wayne Gretzky: changed to game of hockey forever; Mikhail Baryshnikov elevated ballet to a whole new level; Janis Joplin: in a time of singers with pretty voices, that chick decided to rock. But many of those that we passingly refer to as legends, when their time has come and gone, they just leave behind a memory. A legend is more than popularity or being the “it” guy or girl. It isn’t being famous. It means that what you did meant something. It means that what you created took on a life of its own, and inspired others. A legend creates a legacy.

Greg Rapp is a legend. In our industry, he inspired and mentored and befriended countless people. It is because of him that many of us are brewing they way we do, and making the decisions to reach back to some of the traditions of old. We learned names like Lichtenhainer and Dampfbier, and he introduced most of us to the now ubiquitous Gose. But his impact was not just the beer we are enjoying. We also remember Greg as a man of integrity. A man of dry wit and humor. A loving husband and father. A man you counted on and looked up to. The kind of person we wished there were more of. A true Legend.

Greg and I talked history and legend a few times over the years and how drink often plays a role. Wine and beer and mead are frequent players in many of the great epics and sagas of history. Many stories from Scandinavian and Saxon mythology cross over in variations of the same tale. In Norse legend the stories tell of Ægir, the giant. He was commander of the sea, but also the brewer for the gods, assisted by his daughters. Odin – Allfather and wisest of the gods – declared Ægir’s beer to be the best in the Nine Realms. Ægir’s brew kettle was a mile deep and a mile wide, and in his feast hall the drinking horns magically refilled themselves. He refused to serve a feast without beer, and his Great Hall was the one place where gods and giants came together peacefully to enjoy the hospitality.

We are here today to celebrate Greg. His life, what he meant to us, and his legacy. Today we are in his Hall, surrounded by friends, feasting, and some of the best beer in the Nine Realms. Please join me in raising you drinking horn – or glass if you neglected to bring yours – in a toast.

To Greg, our friend, our mentor, and our own legendary brewing giant.

And of course, Prost!


~ by Sean Nordquist on April 29, 2019.

2 Responses to “Godspeed, Greg Rapp”

  1. Excellent post Sean! Happy birthday Greg!

  2. Beautiful…

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