Our tagline says it all: Friends and Beer. We’ve always thought they pair well together. We appreciate the support of many close friends who have helped us along the way, and we look forward to making many new ones in the weeks to come.
Phil Buchy (a.k.a. “Big Phil”)
Like most people, Phil Buchy (a.k.a. “Big Phil”) is always in search of a good time. Prior to becoming a Master Brewer, he went to college to play football and study engineering. He found the slamming into people part to be a kick, but the studying part wasn’t quite as much fun.
After getting out of school, Phil put his engineering degree to work in the construction field. While that job paid the bills, working construction wasn’t always so much fun either. That got Big Phil to thinking: as best as he could remember, his best moments weren’t related to playing sports, solving equations, crunching numbers, or walking around job sites with a tape measure and a pocket protector.
Big Phil realized that nearly all of his best memories revolved around beer and friends in one way or another. One could say that sharing good beer with great friends became Big Phil’s higher calling. Legion Brewing – Friends and Beer – is the result…
Newton Craver (a.k.a. “Wild Card”)
Newton Craver was born in a small town; he could breathe in a small town. He worked for a community bank in that small town, and everything about the whole place was good enough for him.
Then one day, some folks from the big town came along and bought up Newton’s hometown bank. No longer a fixture of the local community, he soon realized the new regime would provide him with little opportunity.
It was around that time when Newton ran into a Master Brewer long on dreams, but short on cash. Knowing a thing or two about financing small companies from his days in the banking business, Newton decided that he was just the partner for that big ol’ brewhouse dreamer. More importantly, he’d made a new friend in Big Phil, one of many that Newton is sure to make at Legion Brewing – Friends and Beer…
Bill Craver (a.k.a. “Crave”)
Anyone who knows Bill Craver can imagine that he was psyched to learn that one of his cousins was opening a microbrewery. Not surprisingly, Bill was quick to offer Newton some advice on starting a business. To be fair, Bill’s words came along with the caveat that Newton should be wary of friends and family coming to him with unsolicited ideas.
Apparently, Newton took this part of Bill’s message to heart, because it was months before Bill so much as heard back from his cousin. Undeterred, Bill showed up periodically at the job site to check on progress with the renovation, each time offering to lend a hand. As it turned out, Newton and the rest of the Legion crew were far more interested in Bill’s lending of a hand than they had been in listening to his MBA teachings. In fact, Phil and Newton continued to welcome Bill’s hand lending, concluding that they liked having him around, which he is still doing to this day…
Richmond Lutz (a.k.a. “Clutch Lutz”)
Early on in Richmond’s baseball career, he earned the nickname, “Clutch Lutz” from his teammates for always coming through in the biggest moments. When architectural designs for Legion Brewing called for features that sounded awesome in theory, but had never actually been built by humankind in reality, Phil and Newton knew exactly whose number to call. They flashed the proverbial ‘Hit’ sign to Clutch Lutz and told him to swing for the fences.
You see, the ceiling in the Taproom called for a completely random array of 100% reclaimed wood, and the bar top was to be covered with butcher-block styled pieces of rough-cut lumber. In actuality, both assignments were more art project than construction task.
Anyone who has visited our Taproom will immediately see that Clutch Lutz knocked both of these curveballs out of the park! Then again, if you’ve already come to see us, there’s a good chance that Richmond, somewhat of a talker, has already told you the whole story himself…
Alexa Long (a.k.a. “The Brew Girl”)
Alexa was working at a craft beer bar, pursuing a degree in Finance from UNC Charlotte, when a lightbulb went off. Finance is boring and beer is awesome. She decided against the traditional office job and opted for a much more exciting industry- craft beer.
After years of homebrewing, beer-cations to breweries and bars from California to Belgium, and a stint of volunteering at a local brewery while managing the homebrew supply store, she was able to turn a hobby into a career.
When she’s not slinging grain and hoses around in the brewhouse, she’s probably rock climbing or otherwise enjoying the outdoors.[Photo credit to Piper Warlick Photography]
Scott is a North Carolina native, growing up in this area and attending Appalachian State University. While studying in Boone, he developed an interest in home brewing and availed himself of the mountain region’s burgeoning Craft Beer scene.
While managing a restaurant, Scott began volunteering at a brewery, Ass Clown, to dive deeper into beer. Pretty soon, they hired Scott on full time as a member of their brew staff, giving him a chance to further hone his craft. A diligent and creative brewer, Legion Brewing is fortunate to have had Scott on board since its opening.
A self-diagnosed hop head, Scott’s favorite Legion beer to date is the Nectarine IPA, ‘Naughty by Nectar.’
Patrick Lodge (a.k.a. “Patty”)
These days, in addition to performing yoeman’s work in the brew house, Patty heads up our laboratory work — monitoring yeast activity, active cell counts and the like. If you ask Patty, his favorite aspect of Legion’s operation is our barrel-ageing program, which encompasses an interesting blend of art, science and even mystery. From this program emerged Patty’s favorite beer to date, ‘The Devonian’ which was a Barleywine aged for a period of months in white oak, whiskey barrels.
And as everyone can plainly see, when Patty rests his head, it is to dream sweet dreams of delicious IPA’s…
Brittany Herier (a.k.a. “Hot Wings”)
While Brittany started her life in nearby Kings Mountain, those hills could not contain her. The first time she up and left was to attend the University of Kentucky – primarily for the basketball. While there, Brittany studied journalism and Public Relations, but mostly recalls painting herself blue for the home games. (If anyone sends pictures, we’re totally posting them!)
Once out of school, Brittany started to feel restless again. Naturally, she decided that feeling restless on Waikiki beach would be better than harboring similar feelings in other places – so she up and moved! Pretty soon, South Korea beckoned and she found herself there, followed by a backpacking journey across Southeast Asia.
As she does from time to time, Brittany eventually moved back Stateside. Along with a partner, she opened up a Wings Etc, where she learned everything there is to know about the restaurant business. But alas, that certain itch that is the ‘Traveling Jones’ returned. This time, scratching it required a walkabout to India, Europe, Kenya and South America…
For the moment, Brittany is back in North Carolina and planting roots with us, running the office here at Legion Brewing. We feel extremely lucky to have her for as long as we can hold her attention! But if she up and disappears someday, we’re pretty sure we won’t know where to start looking for her. You see, Brittany’s world is a pretty large place…
Brittany Smith (a.k.a. “B.Smith”)
Born and raised in southwest Virginia, off of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Brittany is the oldest of six kids. Her maternal instinct is on ready display in the taproom, always taking care of business, customers and her fellow employees.
A big fan of Carolina Panthers, Brittany also enjoys cooking and baking, gardening, exploring new restaurants in Charlotte, and outdoor concerts. Her favorite Legion beer is Juicy Jay, which she believes is best enjoyed during a patio day-drinking session while listening to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
James Rutledge (a.k.a. “Rut”)
His favorite style of beer is anything Sour, which he particularly enjoys while listening to Pandora (preferably on the Mumford and Sons station). James is also an avid home brewer, even challenging members of our brew staff with his extensive beer knowledge.
Kimber is a spunky ball of energy who has spent time living in Spain and Beijing. She played tennis while studying Kinesiology in college. Kimber is currently hitting the books once again, this time attending nursing school. Her favorite Legion brew is our toasty Dos Amigos Vienna Lager. Kimber’s husband, a regular in our taproom, reports that his favorite Legion beer is whatever Kimber is dishing out…
Justin hails from outside of Boston, but has called Charlotte home for many years by now. When not entertaining patrons and fellow staff members with animated stories, Justin is hanging out with his beautiful blended family. At times, Justin takes to growing an epic beard – a prize-winning mass of facial hair that has triumphed in local beard contests. If he’s not behind the bar, Justin can often be found sipping on our high-gravity Sunny Day Saison.
Maeya hardly meets a stranger, and that’s not a surprise to Plaza Midwood folks who know her. Warm and welcoming, Maeya is trained in classical Chinese acupuncture and loves flying stunt kites on the beach. She is also an avid gamer who has developed an American Sign Language game of her own. When Maeya isn’t drinking fresh spinach juice, she likes to fill growlers and sip on our Sunny Day Saison.
Jordan is an alumni of Johnson and Wales University who has called North Carolina home for his entire life. He loves travelling from the coast to the mountains, often hiking and back packing along the way. Jordan has a green thumb, which has come in handy as we begin planting our raised bed and hop garden! His favorite Legion beer is our easy-drinking Freedom Park Pale Ale.
Warm and welcoming, Jordan can often be heard shouting “Freedom” from behind the bar in his own signature style…
Hailing from Blythewood, SC, Charles is also our resident Gamecock. He holds a Geography degree from the University of South Carolina, which we think enabled him to navigate his way to North Carolina. In his free time, Charles loves biking around with the Plaza Midwood Tuesday Night Ride and knitting ugly Christmas sweaters. (We can’t wait for our Christmas card in December!)
Charles’ favorite beer style is Saison, which was made quite evident by the sheer number of Midwood Mule growlers Charles made off with this past Spring.
Kelly is a beer maven of many musical talents, as she enjoys playing guitar, mandolin and bass. She is studying Cultural Anthropology at UNCC, and has travelled to every state on the mainland. Kelly’s favorite Legion beer is our high-gravity Winnie the Brew double IPA. In the event she drinks perhaps one too many, her favorite remedy is to climb back on the proverbial horse with a 50/50 mixture of Carolina Sparkle Party and Lenny Boy ‘Wake Up Call’ Kombucha.
Lisa is a North Carolina native, born in a small town in the Western NC foothills. Despite moving to the Queen City some years ago, Lisa has never lost her love of the mountains and the outdoor lifestyle. Hiking is one of her true passions, as her Facebook followers can attest! Lisa passed along this respect and passion for the outdoors to her son, who currently resides in Maine. Lisa’s favorite indoor activity is definitely yoga, although she sometimes enjoys taking her practice outside as well. A certified Yoga instructor, Lisa teaches at a variety of locales including OKRA and the National Whitewater Center. Believing that yoga has the ability to tap into a powerful life-force within, she strives to share the joys that she has discovered in her own practice. To date, Lisa’s favorite beer at Legion has been a Double IPA, ‘One Girl, Two Hops,’ which surprised her since she usually doesn’t consider herself an IPA maven…
A native of this region, Leah was born in Moorseville and grew up in China Grove. The youngest of four children, Leah’s brothers and sisters have already blessed her family with 13 nieces and nephews.
Leah attended UNC-Charlotte, majoring in Education along and minoring in Communications. Putting both of her degrees to work, Leah has been teaching school for 11 years, currently thrilled with her position as a 1st grade teacher. She loves anything related to water, having been a lifeguard for 5 years. Leah’s hobbies include piano, drums and playing with her sweet dog, Lola! Holding to the adage that things get better with age, Leah’s favorite Legion beer to date was the barrel-aged brew, ‘By Vine and Stave.’
Ryan is a heavily-inked, twenty-something dude, who spends lots of time outdoors hiking and snowboarding. Although stung by a scorpion while visiting Costa Rica, Ryan keeps on trekking forests, mountains, and jungles whenever possible.
He has been playing lacrosse since he was 7 and is currently playing with a Charlotte men’s league. Recently married, Ryan and his wife welcomed a baby daughter into their lives in November 2016.
Ryan’s all-time favorite Legion beer is Komerade Shokolad, our Russian Imperial Stout.
Born and raised in Long Island, New York, Ralph moved with his family to this area in 2009, settling in Concord. For a time, he attended Central Piedmont Community College and began taking jobs in the restaurant industry. Working at a Taco Mac in Huntersville, Ralph rotated through a number or roles from host to chef to bartending. His position entailed going through ‘Beer School,’ which became Ralph’s introduction to Craft Beer. He quickly developed a taste for better beer and began checking out local, craft beer options.
Ralph’s first experience with Legion was in 2016 at the Southend Hops Festival, where he sampled some delicious brews (including Juicy Jay) and purchased a Legion trucker hat! After coming into our Taproom a couple of times as a customer, Ralph dropped a resume and inquired about a sales position. Taken with his unbridled enthusiasm and love of craft beer, we pretty much hired him as a matter of course, and Ralph has been expanding our distribution reach toward the lake area ever since.
When Ralph isn’t running around town selling beer, he enjoys playing lacrosse, skiing, going to concerts, attending beer festivals, and cheering on the Charlotte Hounds. His favorite Legion beer to date? Well, of course it is ‘Juan Direction,’ which Ralph happened to name during his first day on the job.
Salim is a rare breed – native Charlottean! An Eagle Scout and graduate of South Meck, Salim has enjoyed working in the local beer industry for the past 5 years. He got his start with Crafty Beer Guys as a draft technician. If you ask Salim, he’ll tell you that he’s worked on just about every craft beer line in the Queen City at one point or another. Following that experience, Salim worked at a local brewery in a variety of roles including sales, delivery, bartending and brewhouse activities. When not drinking or thinking about beer, Salim enjoy freelance photography and directing the local chapter of the Liverpool Football Club. When it comes to taking down beers, Salim is partial to double IPA’s, Imperial Stouts and English Special Bitters – the hard stuff, basically…
The product of a big Irish family, Brendan is the youngest of 5 siblings. Raised near the beach in Wilmington, NC, he moved to Charlotte in 2012 to link up with his brother, James. Several of Brendan’s other siblings also live in Charlotte, and he loves spending time with them as well as his nieces and nephews. Brendan is now living right here in Plaza Midwood, feeling blessed to have found a huge, loving and honest friend group that he also considers family.
When Brendan isn’t distributing Legion beer around the city, he might be off taking in a show of his favorite band, the String Cheese Incident. They have had a huge influence on him, and he will always see them whenever the chance arises. Finding each show unforgettable, Brendan has made hundreds of SCI friends while touring with the band.
Brendan reports that his life has been very ‘go with the flow,’ although now he’s starting to feel really grounded in Plaza Midwood, surrounded by family and friends. He is passionate about meeting and conversing with all types people, creating full and long lasting friendships, sharing food and drinks with others, traveling for adventure, attending live music shows, long-boarding, simply being a kind person, and spending time with my best friend and my dogs.
Luis is our very own, self-described authentic Cabana Boy. Born in a small town in the central region of Cuba, Luis counts his good fortune that his family was able to relocate to the United States in 1998. After settling in Winston Salem, Luis attended UNC Charlotte where he majored in International Public Relations. Since graduating in 2013, Luis has made a conscious effort to live simply and explore what young adulthood has to offer.
Always a fan of exercise, wellness, and self-improvement, Luis walked into a yoga studio in early 2014 to compliment his weight training routine. Immediately after learning how to use breath purposefully and powerfully, he absolutely fell in love with the practice. In 2016, Luis completed an intense, 200-hour yoga teacher training program at Yoga One, and he now enjoys teaching at various studios around Charlotte.
When Luis is not slinging brews behind the bar at Legion, you can likely catch him in the yoga studio, working at Lululemon, modelling, exercising, dancing to house music, or planning his next vacation. His favorite Legion beer so far: Hot Fuzz, our jalapeño peach sour – he’s hoping that one makes a return appearance…
Another native Charlottean, Caitlin spent her college years at Appalachian State studying Exercise Science. After earning her undergraduate degree, Caitlin made her way back to Charlotte where she has been working hard at Queen’s University in pursuit of a nursing degree.
In her leisure time, Caitlin enjoys spending time outdoors, exercising, and training for half-marathons. To date, she has run two half’s, which Caitlin proudly classifies as a WHOLE marathon. Hooked on an active lifestyle, Caitlin likes to spends summers sailing to the white-sand beaches of the Caribbean. At home in Plaza Midwood, one might catch Caitlin on daily walks with Charlie, her spirited (and hyper perhaps) English Bulldog.
Caitlin is quick to point out that her favorite Legion beer to date is Maple Canyon, which she things should have been self-evident.
When you see Dan behind the bar, you wouldn’t be far off base to conclude that he is Legion’s resident lumberjack / Viking warrior. Dan got his start in the hospitality industry as a teenager working in a farmhouse-style restaurant. A diligent, hard worker, Dan worked his way onto the preparation line and quickly became hooked on the restaurant business. So much so, that he enrolled in Charlotte’s Johnson and Wales University to study Culinary. With his degree in hand, Dan took chef positions at Kindred Restaurant in Davidson and Halcyon in Uptown Charlotte.
Always ready for another challenge, Dan is now enrolled at UNC-Charlotte, working toward a degree in Mechanical Engineering. When he’s not studying, calculating angles with a protractor, or cleaning out his pocket protector, Dan likes to do all things outdoors: camping, hiking, hunting and the like. From the looks of him, we’re guessing Dan also spends some time in the gym. Recently married to a woman he worked alongside in his restaurant days, we can only imagine the good stuff the two of them cook up at home.
In terms of favorite Legion beers, Dan tends to keep things mainstream, favoring two of our flagship offerings: Dos Amigos and Juicy Jay. Not bad choices…