Virginia Brewery Champion Merges with Reason Beer

Champion Brewing Company announced today a merger with Reason Beer, another Charlottesville-based craft brewery. Champion has named Jeff Raileanu, one of Reason’s founders, its CFO. Raileanu, an economist with degrees from Duke and George Mason universities has directed finance and strategy for Reason. Hunter Smith will continue as Champion’s CEO.

They will complete the deal at the end of November, with Champion’s operations relocating from its Woolen Mills Missile Factory to Reason’s headquarters at 1180 Seminole Trail.

Champion’s Hunter Smith said, “It’s an exciting opportunity for two like-minded local companies to combine to be better together. Both brands are community-focused and philanthropic; it will be incredible to see our joint impact. Champion and Reason also have complementary beer portfolios and we look forward to seeing each other’s success under one ownership and management team.”

The brands and beer recipes will remain the same, and all staff will be retained.

“The primary change will be where we make and store our beer,” said Smith.

Reason Beer, founded in 2017 by UVa graduates and friends Jeff Raileanu, Mark Fulton, and J. Patrick Adair, ascended quickly, gaining a loyal following of brands like Reason Pale and Pattern Recognition IPA. In 2019 and 2020, Reason Beer won gold and silver medals for best sour beer in the Virginia Beer Cup.

Jeff Raileanu said, “It’s a great opportunity for Reason to leverage the reach of Champion’s distribution, and for both brands to streamline operations under a single roof, all while maintaining the brand identity and following we have worked to establish. Like Reason, Champion’s culture includes giving back to the community, so it’s a great fit for our teams to work together to continue that tradition.”

Champion currently produces five times the beer that Reason has thus far produced in a year. The merged company will have over 100 employees, expects to produce over 6,000 barrels annually, and projects $10M in revenue for 2022.

Guests will find Reason Beer alongside Champion brews in Champion tap rooms and Champion Hospitality Group properties, including Champion Grill, Champion Ice House, Champion Lynchburg, Brasserie Saison, Passiflora, and Siren (opening late 2021).

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