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

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…

(Photo Credit: Shot By Ash and Scott)

Newton Craver

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

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

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…

More recently, when Legion was ready to start selling beer around town, we again looked to Richmond to tackle that undertaking.  He has done a great job slinging kegs around town, starting with Plaza Midwood and expanding out from there. If you happen to spot a Legion beer on tap at one of your favorite watering holes, there’s a good chance Richmond may have arranged for it to be there.

Alexa Long

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 Griffin

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

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

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

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

When James isn’t brewing up Legion beer, he can be found mountain biking, fly fishing and travelling.

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 Stovesand
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…

Will Johnson

Answering to the nickname ‘Willy J,’ this Legion friend was born and raised in Hickory, NC. After cheering on the Heels during his college years at the University of North Carolina, Willy moved to the Queen City. No stranger to Legion’s Taproom, he’s been making regular visits since opening day back in 2015.

When Willy’s not hanging around Charlotte, he absolutely loves to travel around the world, recently trekking as far as South America to experience the wine country of Mendoza and the mountains of Peru. On another trip, Willy joined a cousin to visit four different cities in Morocco. In 2018, he’ll be exploring the Gold Coast of Australia, a country Willy’s wanted to visit since childhood.

Willy’s Legion beer of choice is Juicy Jay, which he believes to be the best beer in Charlotte.  He also dabbles in some of Legion’s seasonal beers and sours throughout the year when he feels the need for a Juicy Jay Intervention…

Kristin Garber

Born in Florida, Kristin somehow skipped over the Carolinas and grew up in West Virginia. Even so, the pursuit of a music performance major at Queens University eventually drew her to Charlotte. Kristin got her first exposure to Legion because it happened to be located right next to Okra, her favorite yoga studio. She also came to the Taproom to watch her friend, Brian-The-Trivia-Man, Legion’s ever-hilarious Tuesday night trivia host.

In her spare time, Kristin likes to practice yoga, watch The Voice, play with her dog Squishy, and travel. Of all the places that she’s visited, her favorite was Croatia. She knew nothing about it, and found the country to be absolutely gorgeous, charming and fun!

Kristin also lived in Europe for a few years during her 20s, including a year of study abroad in Northern Ireland. During this time, she really got into Belgian beers. Upon returning to the States, this transferred to an interest in American craft beers. As far as her favorites on tap at Legion, her top choices are Jungle Barrel and Pink Cow.

 

 

 

 

Justin Rinaldi

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.

Jordan Coley

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…

Charles Langdale

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.

Leah Brown

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.’

Ralph Preziosi

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.

Luis Bayon

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…

Caitlin Johnson

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.

Dan Brown

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…

Russell Derby

Despite having been born right here in Charlotte, Russell spent most of his early years living in Upstate New York. After high school, Russell moved to Sarasota, Florida where he worked in various aspects of the hospitality industry for almost ten years.

In 2009, Russell returned to Charlotte to pursue culinary studies at Johnson & Wales. Degree in hand, he worked as a chef at various restaurants across the Queen City. In a move that may have foreshadowed his future role at Legion Brewing, Russell took on the responsibility of managing the bar at a popular Plaza Midwood hangout. Looking to get deeper into Craft Beer, he subsequently took a job with Mystery Brewing, initially as a Sales Representative, and later as a Sales Manager.

These days, Russell can be seen all over town rep’ing Legion, while slinging beers to a long list of restaurants and bars. When he’s not doing beer-related stuff, Russell enjoys hanging around Plaza Midwood with his wife and young daughter.

Alison Coyle

Legion’s second employee born outside of the United States, Alison immigrated with her family to America at the age of five, settling in Apex, North Carolina. While here, she continued her love of horseback riding, eventually competing in the North American Junior Young Rider Championships. After graduating from high school, Alison spent a full year supporting an Olympic horseback rider, attending numerous competitions with him along the East Coast.

Attending college at NC State University, Alison earned a degree in Environmental Science with a focal area on Sustainability. She is currently putting this knowledge to good use as a contractor for Duke Energy, working on the Energy Efficiency residential lighting program.

As a result of Alison’s German lineage, she has always had a taste for good beer. During college, she worked at a farm-to-table restaurant, which helped her develop a taste for Craft Beer. Alison’s favorite Legion beers so far include Drop your Schwarz and Hot Fuzz…

Sara Zagar

Yet another native Charlottean, Sara developed an interest in craft beer alongside the growing brewery scene in the Queen City over the past 5-10 years. One of her favorite occasions to enjoy a good, cold craft beer is while spending time with her Dad playing backgammon.

In her spare time, Sara loves to spend time outdoors – she considers herself a plant nerd, always checking out the flora and the fauna.  Sara enjoys spending time at the Whitewater Center, listening to live music and drinking a beer while watching rafters and kayakers navigate the rapids. Outside of Charlotte, Sara enjoys going to music festivals and traveling to new places that are off the beaten path, like Costa Rica.

If you ask Sara, the aspect that attracted her to Legion was the welcoming, homey vibe found in the Taproom.  While working at Zada Janes, she found Legion to be a great place to meet with friends and have a beer in a relaxed, comfortable setting. For a long time now, Sara’s favorite Legion beer has been Juicy Jay – shocker!

Bryan Baumbartner

Looking at Bryan’s tall and slender physique, nobody would suspect that his father was the Olympic wrestling champion, Bruce Baumgartner. Among the highlights of Bryan’s childhood, he was on hand to watch his dad win gold at Wrestling’s 1995 World Championships. Gifted with some athleticism of his own, Bryan is an accomplished runner and onetime competitive eater – once consuming three pounds of tater tots in under three minutes!

Hailing from a small town in PA, Bryan was raised on Yuengling, often thought of as the nation’s oldest operating brewery. Living in an avid beer culture, Bryan and his friends would exchange six-packs of different beers, which led to an appreciation for the variety and complexity of the craft beer world.

After high school, Bryan attended Edinboro University where he ran cross country and track while studying broadcast journalism. In 2014, having spent his entire life up to that point in NW Pennsylvania and looking for a change of pace, Bryan relocated to Charlotte.

In terms of being attracted to Legion Brewing, the tipping points for Bryan were the welcoming, friendly vibe of the taproom paired with his favorite IPA, Juicy Jay! When Bryan isn’t around beer, he enjoys photography, shooting and editing videos, traveling and running.