Russell is married to his beautiful wife Erin and they are blessed with 3 children. As a fourth generation native to the Ozarks, he is passionately committed to the people and prosperity of Mountain Home. He has worked in the utility sector for the past 15 years and enjoys pursuing many hobbies, like brewing!
Russell started brewing around 2008 when his neighbor introduced him to the new world and flavors of “craft” beer. He brewed on and off for a few years until meeting Chris and discovered they both had similar interests in the craft. The hobby very quickly became an infatuation and out of that, was born Rapp’s Barren. The vision of Rapp’s was quite small in the beginning and neither Chris nor Russell were prepared for the overwhelmingly positive response from the community.
“We have spent countless evenings and weekends brewing and working the taproom since opening our doors, but I honestly wouldn’t trade them for anything. The experiences we have enjoyed and the relationships we have been able to build, far outweigh the challenges of working around the clock.”
Chris and Alyssa moved to Arkansas in the Spring of 2011 from Southern California ready for change. Chris began homebrewing soon after arriving when a family friend introduced him to the wonders of brewing your own beer (you should try it!) and the bug caught. Alyssa’s Aunt and Uncle took him under their wing as they had been homebrewing for years and were more than happy to share their bank of knowledge and supplies. He met Russell soon thereafter and the rest is history!
Chris is also a professional counselor in private practice and continually learning new things about the Ozarks that are totally different from the West coast and loving it!
“I never imagined a hobby becoming something so large and community driven as Rapp’s has become. It truly amazes me each time I stop and think about the amount of people involved to pull this off; how we rely on one another, support one another and work together to make this happen! It goes to show how connected we really are and reminds me how important it is to try our/my best to stay connected in the midst of all different kinds of change and trials. Rapp’s is an example of a place that we can be us, enjoy time together and continue to connect no matter what else is going on outside”.
Originally from Southeast Missouri, Kyle moved to Mountain Home to work for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in 2009. Although he was a big fan of craft beer throughout college, it wasn’t until he moved to Arkansas that he was bitten by the brewing bug. After being unable to find some of his favorite styles of beer locally, he decided to try brewing them at home. Given his background in science and his love for cooking, brewing was a natural fit.
Shortly after Rapp’s Barren opened, Kyle was invited to brew his favorite homebrew recipe “Light’s Out Black IPA” and he started brewing part-time shortly thereafter. In January 2019 he left his job at Arkansas Game and Fish to pursue his passion for brewing full-time and in 2020 he became a partner in the business.
Kyle says “Making the decision to leave my former career was not easy, but coming to Rapp’s Barren has been rewarding in so many ways. I’m extremely proud of the product we put out and the unique environment that we provide, but I’m even more proud to be a part a business that is so deeply engrained in our community. That sense of community will only continue to grow when we open our new location on the square.”
Originally from a small town south of Minneapolis, Michael’s family life helped to develop an early interest in cooking. This interest quickly turned into a passion as the world of high end restaurant cuisine exposed him to a new world of flavor, styles, and possibilities, ultimately leading him down a path of higher education.
In 2006, Michael graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts with a bachelor’s degree. He quickly went to work for the distinguished Norwegian Cruise Lines, feeding the ship’s crew while sailing the Hawaiian Islands. Upon completion of his contract, he returned to Minnesota to begin working for Prom Catering where his culinary skills helped him quickly climb the ranks to join the company’s elite traveling golf team. For over 11 years, Michael traveled to some of the largest PGA and USGA golf tournaments in the country feeding guests, staff, and players. Michael led culinary teams ranging from 10-30 people while feeding up to 4,000 guests at tournaments such as The Players Championships, U.S. Open, Presidents Cup, and many more.
As satisfying as the life of a professional traveling chef was, it eventually began to lose its luster. In an effort to change his pace, Michael relocated to the Mountain Home area where the natural beauty, fishing, and hunting truly lured him in. He is thrilled to share his culinary passion with the community and hopes that he can help to inspire others with new flavors, styles, and possibilities that his diverse background has equipped him with.
Kelsey started her career in the events and hospitality industry while attending college at Arizona State University. She worked for the University’s student programming board and also completed an internship with Special Olympics Arizona. Through her experiences in college she would say that she was “bit by the events bug” and never looked back.
After graduation Kelsey began working for Prom Management Group, a catering company based in Minnesota that catered PGA golf tournaments around the US. After traveling to tournaments full time for 2 years Kelsey decided to take a break and moved to Minnesota full time to complete a post-graduation internship with the Minnesota Twins and then headed right back into the catering world as a Catering Manager and Account Executive for 2 more years in the Twin Cities.
In 2016, Kelsey landed her dream as the Events Manager for the Minnesota Super Bowl LII Host Committee for the 2018 Super Bowl.
After finishing her contract in 2018, Kelsey and Michael decided to start their next great adventure and moved to the Mountain Home area where they have stayed active in the hospitality industry.