11.29: Champion Hires Ken Rayher as Richmond Taproom Brewer

Champion Brewing Company announced today the addition of two linchpins to its new Richmond operation. Ken Rayher, formerly of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, will be Champion’s Richmond Taproom brewer, and Cary Carpenter, formerly of The Whiskey Jar in Charlottesville, will manage the bar. The new brewpub, due to open at the end of this year, will be at 401 E. Grace Street, in the former Aurora space in downtown Richmond.

“We’re excited to have Ken join the Champion team, and to have Cary making the move to Richmond to manage the taproom. Our expansion into downtown Richmond is greatly enhanced by the team we’ve been fortunate enough to attract,” said Hunter Smith, founder of Champion.

Ken Rayher

Ken Rayher

Rayher, a Roanoke native who has lived in Richmond for more than 17 years, won a Great American Beer Festival silver medal for his Grosse Teufel, a Lichtenhainer weisse brewed under Hardywood’s Brewer and Artist series in 2016 and contributed to the recipe for Hardywood’s flagship pils, a gold medal winner in the Virginia Craft Brewer’s Cup in 2015.  “I’ve always been a fan of Champion’s passion and commitment, not just to brewing but to music, culture, and the collaborative spirit that comes through in the finished product. I think the Taproom is going to be a great fit for Richmond’s creative culture,” said Rayher.

Cary Carpenter has been a fixture in Charlottesville’s restaurant scene, with stints at Parallel 38 and the Charlottesville Champion Taproom, as well as being a former partner in The Whiskey Jar. Carpenter’s move to Richmond coincided with the Champion opportunity. “The Richmond food and drink culture is especially exciting with more than 10 craft breweries and cideries within the city limits,” said Carpenter.

As announced in August, 2016, the taproom will feature a sandwich and taco menu offered by chefs Jason Alley and Michele Jones of Pasture and Comfort restaurants.





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Erik Filep nudge nudge

Dec 4 4:00PM


DESPISE YOU (Los Angeles veterans)

6PM Doors // 7PM Sounds
FREE for 21+ // $10 for under 21
No advance tickets, first come first served
@ Champion Brewing Company RVA (401 E Grace St)

As part of Champion Brewing Company's one year anniversary of planting our flag in Richmond soil, we will be hosting our first big-time rock show and we couldn't be more excited for this stacked bill. Co-headliners IRON REAGAN hailing from just down the street from our taproom have been non-stop touring in support of their newest slab of wax for Relapse Records, "Crossover Ministry." They played our first showcase at the flagship location and it feels like tradition that they'd play the anniversary of our location in their hometown. They'll be touring with 20+ year Los Angeles legends DESPISE YOU who have been holding it down for Inglewood since their 1994 inception, and haven't played RVA since 2011 (correct us if we're wrong)! Two of our favorite regional acts are also joining this tour and make this a true gem of a lineup from top to bottom in Baltimore's CEMETERY PISS and Richmond favorites LEFT CROSS!! To top it all off, if you're 21+ it's FREE and if you're under 21, it's just $10. No advance pre-sales, no RSVP, just come on down and play some games, drink some beer and support travelling artist all while helping us celebrate one year of pouring beer in this city!

It's been a fun year full of hard work and our fair share of set-backs, but we're proud of the distance we've traveled over the past 12 months. We've been honing the sound in our room and are recognizing the restraints we have to work within. After 20+ shows we are fully dedicated to have phase one of our soundproofing done before our anniversary and will be supplementing the usual PA for the event, so rest assured, this party is going to taste and sound great!

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Thanks! Not public yet. Maybe double check and make sure I didn’t fuck anything up with cross scheduling between the two pages!

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