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The story behind Root + Branch Brewing, now open in Copiague

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Root + Branch Brewing has been four years in the making for long-time friends and business partners, Anthony Sorice and Ryan Mauban. 

Just underneath the train tracks at the Copiague railroad station, the brewery and tasting room at 360 Marconi Blvd. reflects a passion for history, philosophy and beer all under one roof.

“I think the genesis of this was working Saturday morning shifts and thinking like, ‘I think we should open a brewery,’” Mauban said. “No real thought about the work it would take to open a brewery, but it sounds like a good idea, let’s workshop that.” 

The owners held a soft opening of Root + Branch on July 14, which they said was almost four years to the day since they began leasing the space in 2018. 

From Brooklyn to Long Island

Sorice, a Wantagh native, met Mauban, who is from California, when they both worked at Tørst Bar, a well-known beer bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. 

Nestled in the back of the bar was a restaurant where Sorice met Brendan Woodcock, who was friends with a group of guys opening up Threes Brewing in Gowanus, Brooklyn.  

“I was home-brewing at the time and Brendan was rushing out the door one night to go do a tasting, they had just brewed their first batches of beer,” Sorice said. “I asked him if the guys needed any help, I’m interested in expanding my knowledge a little bit.” 

The brewers were looking for an assistant and for Sorice, “things just fell into place from there,” he said. 

After Tørst, Mauban helped with beer pairings in the restaurant attached to the back that served beer-only — no wines or spirits. 

He then moved on to a Portuguese-style craft beer restaurant and ran the beer program there. 

For Mauban, he said with his plethora of experience working the front of house at these restaurants, the partnership with Sorice just made sense. 

“It works because he handles all the brewing and I handle the tasting room side, our skill sets don’t clash,” Mauban said. “They complement each other.” 

In 2018, Sorice and Mauban began brewing “nomadically” for Root + Branch through Twelve Percent Imports, which now operates a brewery in Connecticut. 

At that time, Twelve Percent Imports would build relationships with bigger breweries that had excess capacity.

They would help smaller brands by bringing them in to try a couple of recipes and if the startup took off, they would schedule regular production for them. 

“We were really fortunate, I think we brewed our first batch in Connecticut,” Mauban said. “Within the first four batches, we were able to brew out here on Long Island and it made such a huge difference for our brand … We were really lucky to get the support from the community.” 

The history behind Root + Branch 

Before entering the brewing world, Sorice said he originally was going to become a history professor. 

He had just graduated with his master’s degree the same week he was offered the assistant job at Threes Brewing. 

“My family thought I was crazy,” Sorice joked. 

Although it is no longer his career path, Sorice pays tribute to his history and philosophy “roots” through the name of the Copiague brewery and its interior design. 

The name Root + Branch is inspired by a literary group and magazine that Sorice’s old college history professor started with his former colleagues when they were in graduate school at Harvard University. 

“I told him we were using the name and he was so excited,” Sorice said. “We have some of the old pamphlets that he published hanging behind the bar that he sent us.” 

Walking into Root + Branch’s tasting room, Sorice and Mauban have created a welcoming atmosphere for beer lovers of all experience levels. 

The space gives off a minimalistic vibe with plenty of seating inside and on their outside patio.

Mauban and Sorice want customers to feel relaxed, not intimidated, and know they can ask their nice, knowledgable bartenders any questions. 

Whether you’re a beer connoisseur or looking to try something new, the brewers have crafted a list of hop-forward draft offerings, like IPAs and double IPAs. 

Sorice said they want to focus more on Belgian-style beers, such as table beers and farmhouse ales, and eventually launch a barrel program. 

“We want to start working with some of the farmers on the East End so we can age the beer on local fruit,” Sorice added. 

Now that Root + Branch has a home, the brewers can create more than IPAs and experiment a bit, which allows them to offer a wider range of beer, Mauban said. 

Story continues after photo.

Root + Branch pamphlets.

What to know before visiting 

For right now, the brewery does not offer any food, but the owners hope to possibly incorporate food trucks in the future. 

Root + Branch is open this weekend from noon to 8 p.m. and customers looking for growlers are asked to bring their own clean, brown glasses that are 750 mL, 64 oz, or 2L in size.

The owners said they will soon sell their own Root + Branch growlers for patrons.  

At the end of the day, Mauban said he and Sorice just want people to know they take beer seriously. 

It has been a long time coming for Root + Branch, but the owners said no one has stood in their way. 

Although they have faced some unfortunate circumstances as business owners, the community has had their back the whole way, they said. 

“We have dedicated our livelihoods to this and we care about what gets poured into every glass that gets served over the bar,” Mauban said. “We want people to enjoy the vibe, feel what we’re doing here, and explore everything that Anthony is making because we are going to put out some fun stuff.” 

To stay up to date with Root + Branch’s menu, hours and offerings, check out their Instagram page and website.

Scroll down for photos from Root + Branch’s soft opening.

Top: Root + Branch oo-owner Ryan Mauban serving beers. Photos by Ana Borruto.