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.