St. John Brewer's Virgin Islands Root Beer
The story of St. John Brewers begins when two college classmates quit their jobs to live on the small island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Chirag Vyas, who grew up in Providence, R.I., had been living and working in California as a scientist for NASA. Kevin Chipman, a friend and former roommate from the University of Vermont, worked as a physical therapist at a Boston medical center. In their first two years out of college, they became frustrated by the 9-5 lifestyle that seemingly defined their stateside existence, so the two decided to embark on a Caribbean adventure that would change their lives forever. They quit their jobs, sold their belongings, and purchased one-way tickets to the Virgin Islands.
For their first month on the unfamiliar island, Vyas and Chipman bused tables and paid a local $250 a month to sleep on an old sailboat. The boat had no electricity or running water, so they ate by flashlight and stored food on a block of ice – all the while never doubting their choice to live in this tropical turquoise-blue water setting.
They spent their downtime exploring the island, swimming in the warm ocean water and learning to scuba dive, something they'd never done growing up in New England. The two soon found a cheap apartment to rent and worked their way up to bartending. Hiking to the beach during the day and making island concoctions at night filled most of their time. However, there was something from their stateside lives that they missed on the island: the two fell in love with craft beer from their college days and longed to enjoy that style of beer on St. John...
So, like any inventive 20-somethings marooned in vacation paradise, Vyas and Chipman headed over to the public library in the "downtown" area of Cruz Bay and logged on to the Internet. If breweries could make beer, why couldn't they? A few clicks later, they had ordered a $50 beer-making kit and were on their way. They got the business off the ground using their own money, as well as small loans from family and friends -- between $500 and $5,000, in most cases. Fast forward 10 years into the business, and St. John Brewers have gone on to create a great-tasting root beer, ginger beer, and an energy drink.
From stjohnbrewers.com, The Huffington Post, St.John Brewers Facebook Page