OUR STORY & ORIGINS
Black Stag Brewery owners John Hampton, Kathryn and William Myers descended from German, Welsh and Scottish immigrants. The Hampton family ancestors immigrated from Germany and Great Britain in the early 1700s settling in the Virginia Commonwealth. By the early 1800s the Hamptons had made it to the Western Frontier and a settlement that would later be known as Kansas City. The Hamptons were among the first people to settle in Kansas and later would be part of the free state movement and were among the original "Jayhawkers" of the free state of Kansas. Though some Hamptons moved on westward, our owner's ancestors made Kansas their home and they had with them beer recipes from the old country that would have dated back to prior to 1700.
Fast forward 220 years.
The love of Lawrence, of brewing beer, and of good food translated into a passion for hometown hospitality in our founders. Opening a brewery and restaurant in the heart of Downtown Lawrence was a merging of family ideals, passion, experience, and timing.
John is originally from Osawatomie, KS. He moved to Lawrence in 1985 where he met Kathryn, and they were married in 1989. John received his BS in Cell Biology in 1991 from the University of Kansas and has studied brewing science at the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago and in Golden, Colorado. John worked in the bio-pharmaceutical industry as a biochemist in San Francisco, Boston, Scotland, Germany, and Italy for 27 years. John has been a brewing since 2013.
Kathryn and her father Bill are Lawrence originals. Kathryn graduated from Lawrence High in 1981, received her BA in Marketing in 1985, finished her Law Degree in 1991, and earned her MBA in 2002--all from KU. Kathryn has been a practicing attorney for 27 years, and she has a unique palate for craft beer. She can pick a winning recipe better than anyone we know.
Bill graduated in 1962 from KU with a degree in Chemistry, and he retired in Lawrence in 1995. He and his wife Becky live in East Lawrence and are avid supporters of all things Lawrence. Bill is a member of the Lawrence Kiwanis Club and the New Generation Society, as well as a season ticket holder at the Lied Center and former member of the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, where he played violin. Bill loves craft beer and frequents breweries in Lawrence.
THE BLACK STAG BREWERY
While working for a bio-pharma company in Boston, John noticed that many employees of the company had previously worked for the Sam Adams Brewing Company. After inquiring further and touring the brewery, it seemed so obvious, as brewing and bio-pharma manufacturing are essentially the same process.
Both industries use fermentation to achieve their final products. In bio-pharma the protein and enzymes are harvested and purified and the rest is discarded, whereas in brewing we discard the proteins as waste and keep everything else. Once aged, it's called beer.
Learning this peaked Johns interest, and finally, at the urging of Bill, he began brewing in 2013. Over the years John dreamed of opening a brewery. After many trips to European breweries, breweries across the US, and five years of nano-brewing, a real chance for the brewery to become a reality presented itself.
The owners of 623 Massachusetts, the Marsh family, wanted to lease the premises to the right type of family business with a good concept, so when John, Kathryn, and Bill came calling, the match couldn't have been better. The Marsh family expressed that they had always thought the location to be a good one for a brewery, and so the Black Stag Brewery finally had a home.
The story of "THE" Black Stag:
Growing up in Osawatomie, John's father was a carpenter and his mother a seamstress. Life was good and always modest. The dinner table was often supplemented with wild game, fish, foraged morel mushrooms, and the like.
During one hunting trip in the fall of the early 1980's John's father, Jack, returned to tell a tale about two white tail bucks. The two deer ran together, which is unheard of, as bucks almost never group with other bucks. However, these two did, one following a trail and the other sticking to the woods, showing its shadow in the blackness of early morning and late evening. Jack said the antlers of the two deer were identical, and he observed these deer and their unique behavior many times every fall of the following years.
The silhouetted Black Stag logo is the actual image of "THE" BLACK STAG from that long ago trip to the old oak woods. And so in dedication to John's father and to a lifestyle from days gone by, we named the brewery "The Black Stag."