MEET THE VIRGINIA BEER CO. TEAM
CHRIS SMITH / Co-Founder
Originally from Connecticut, Chris’ first Williamsburg experience was as a student at The College of William & Mary. After graduation, Chris spent five years working for a large financial firm in New York City and later Boston. He and his wife Erin (also a member of the Tribe, and now a local veterinarian) returned to Williamsburg in late 2012 to begin scouting locations for The Virginia Beer Company. Chris spends most of his free time taking care of their rescue animals (Jasmine, a 10 year-old fluffy brown cat, and Gracie, a one year-old Australian Shepherd/Golden Retriever mix), eating Haribo gummy candy, and running.
ROBBY WILLEY / Co-Founder
Robby was born and raised in Northern VA. After a brief stint out of state as a student at the University of Rhode Island, Robby made his triumphant return to Virginia when he transferred to The College of William & Mary in 2002. After graduating in 2005, Robby worked in the finance field for a firm in Arlington, VA for almost 10 years before making his full time return to Williamsburg in 2014. Robby spends his free time volunteering for W&M, serving as a member of the City of Williamsburg EDA, and working to transcribe his adventures 140 characters at a time on any social media platform accessible via mobile device.
JONATHAN NEWMAN / Brewmaster
A 2006 graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South, Jonathan began his professional brewing career at Jackalope Brewing Company in Nashville, TN. In late 2011 he accepted a position brewing for SweetWater Brewing Company in Atlanta, GA. While there, Jonathan was one of a handful of brewers behind numerous Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup winning beers. Jonathan graduated from the American Brewers Guild "Intensive Brewing Science & Engineering" program in December 2013 and later joined the team at The Virginia Beer Company as Brewmaster in August 2014. On the rare occasion he's away from the brewery and not thinking about beer, Jonathan spends his free time chasing live music, hiking and camping whenever possible, and hanging with his dog, Cassidy.
LUCI LEGASPI / Taproom Manager & Business Developer
Luci spent her formative years traveling the world with her military family. Her family settled in Williamsburg circa 2005, and she's called the 'burg home ever since. A student-athlete and magna cum laude graduate of the school of hard knocks, Luci realized early on she had a burgeoning aptitude for appreciating beer and found herself at a local brewery running the taps. When Chris and Robby asked if she'd like to be a part of the opening team, Luci checked yes on the love letter and the rest is history. When she's not managing the taproom, you'll find her exploring the Commonwealth with her family, tracking the latest streaming TV series on Netflix, or enjoying a beer by her fire pit.
MICHAEL RHODES / Director of Sales
.@GoMichaelRhodes lives for the moment. He has never met a social media platform or a #craftbeer he didn't like. Michael was excited to join the VBC team and spread the love of #burgbeer to the masses. He brings a multitude of skills to the brewery, including his uncanny ability to strike up a conversation with anyone. When he's not running events or creating new #hashtags, you'll find him running around town looking for new ways to #breaktheburg.
BRAD ADAMS / Brewer
Was beer invented so Bradley Adams could brew it? Maybe not but it was his destiny. This up and coming brew-star knows the local beer scene inside and out. A Williamsburg native, Brad has proven himself a sportsman, a philosopher, and, most importantly, a role model to all those he meets. His first brewery job came in late 2013 with Alewerks Brewing Co. where he became a packaging phenom and was given the name "BradleyGoat". After three years of intense knowledge training, he took his talents to 2nd Street and began the next level on training with The Virginia Beer Company. His favorite quote - "You're killing me Smalls!" - is a mantra he lives by every day.
AARON "AJ" STAUBER / Brewer
Aaron, or AJ to the VBC staff, was born and raised in northern Illinois. The oldest of two, Aaron had a passion for both golf and gaming early on in his life. Summers were spent at his local golf course working and playing from sunrise to sunset. Attending college in Missouri, Aaron had his first experience with craft beer at the local brewpub in town. His love of their barleywine opened his eyes to the world of artisanal beers. After moving to Williamsburg in 2007, Aaron began a successful career working for GameStop. Here he learned many invaluable lessons in running a business, but his passion for craft beer was stronger than ever. By 2015, Aaron had left GameStop and started his career in the craft beer scene helping open a local bottle shop in Colonial Williamsburg. Here he met Chris, Robby, Jonathan, and their vision for VBC. The rest is history. Nowadays, Aaron is in the brewery helping get all our beer to your glass (and when not, he's out in the wild living his life on two wheels).
CØURTENAY MØTLEY / Maîtresse de Taproom
AMBER KOSTKA / Lead B-artista
Born and raised in Virginia Beach, Amber always associated Williamsburg with “that fun field trip in 5th grade”. Little did she know, her love for great beer would allow for a whole new take on the Burg. Post college, Amber had a brief stint in the mortgage industry and quickly realized desk life did not suIT her. Returning to what she enjoyed, she took a position at a new craft beer restaurant that opened at the beginning of 2015. It was there she had her first Free Verse, met the VBC crew, and knew there was something special happening on the other side of the water. After thoroughly stalking the brewery every chance she could, and realizing a lifelong dream of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2017, she ran into Robby & Chris at a local event. Luckily for her, they mentioned a spot might be opening up and she jumped. When Amber isn’t pouring a pint, you can find her hiking, running, attempting to write poems, or funstagating her fellow co-workers.
BEN MACKIN / Team Taproom
Before his professional VBC debut in September of 2018, Ben was a semi-regular patron in the taproom from the beginning. Originally an Army brat, Ben hails from Buckroe Beach in Hampton. After high school, he headed south to Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama where he came to appreciate rugby, Kurt Vonnegut, and regional craft beer. Despite his love for beer, it has taken Ben a few careers before finding himself behind our bar. After working as a newspaper crime reporter, golf course greenskeeper, infantry platoon leader, air defender, court stenographer, and hotel sales coordinator...it only made sense for him to try the field in which he had already invested so much time and money.
JEREMY MCCLELLAN / Prince of Production
"Jockey Box" JACK WINTHROP / Taproom & Tours
Jack is a local guy, from Williamsburg, Virginia. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Virginia and currently works full time as 8th grade social studies teacher. He developed a passion for beer and brewing in college, helping his roommate concoct a variety of brews in a cramped apartment kitchen. He joined The Virginia Beer Company family in March 2016, and has thoroughly enjoyed working the taproom and learning about the craft beer industry ever since. When he is not teaching, planning, or grading homework, Jack enjoys educating himself on the finer points of the many styles of craft beer (and tasting it!), collecting vinyl records, practicing banjo, and spending time with his wife, their dog (Gerty) and their cat (Charles).
KRISTIN RITCHEY / Companion Flights & Power-Close
Kristin is originally from Northern VA, but has spent the last 5 years studying, living, and working in Williamsburg. After graduating from the College of William & Mary in 2016, she accepted a job with the College’s Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations as a Junior Program Manager. In 2017, Kristin accepted a new role with nearby Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. When she’s not pouring or being revolutionary, she loves practicing hot yoga, reading, and inventing new recipes in the kitchen.