Kevin Chipman and Chirag Vyas, the founders of St. John Brewers at Mongoose Junction, didn't exactly just walk in to a bar. They got there the old fashioned way. They earned it.
Their story began soon after they graduated from the University of Vermont and decided to move to St. John. The first year, they lived on a sailboat with no electricity while they figured out what they would do with the rest of their lives. "You don't worry about what might go wrong in life when you're snorkeling, hiking or sailing," they told Islands magazine. "Very quickly, we fell in love with the lifestyle here on St. John," and decided to stay.
But doing what? Well, they loved craft beers, and Paradise had no craft beer. So they made some.
The key to their 'overnight' success, which has taken several years: hard work that began with their idea, and then their explaining – and selling – it to restaurants and bar owners. "When our first 40-foot container arrived (with 1,300 cases of Virgin Islands Tropical Mango Ale), we warehoused it ourselves. Half on St. Thomas, half in our apartment."
For all those people who think they'd like to c move to the island, the Brewers story is pure gold. They found the harder they worked and the more they cared about the comm,unity, the greater their success and acceptance and support. "Part of knowing everyone is supporting everyone," they said.
It also helps that St. John's a happy place. "If St. John has a reason to party, it definitely will," they told Islands.