Who Is Random Row Brewing Company?
Random Row Brewing Company was started by twenty local families (our "founders"), all of whom have a strong personal connection to Charlottesville and all of whom have a strong desire to create a local business that becomes part of the Charlottesville community. 90% of our founders live in Virginia, and more than half still reside in Charlottesville (almost all have some connection to the University of Virginia). The majority of our founders have young families with small children (which is why we work hard to make Random Row “kid friendly” and convenient – so we can actually go there!). Other interesting facts? Two thirds of us are current or former healthcare workers (the rest are in aviation, military, engineering, or own their own small businesses, including several technology startups). About a third of our founders were NCAA Division I athletes in college (track & field, swimming, football), two of them participated in the Olympic Trials, and one is a former Olympian! There is, as you can imagine, a heavy focus on sporting events at Random Row.
Brewer (Kevin McElroy)
Kevin McElroy attended James Madison University as an undergraduate, after which he obtained certification in clinical perfusion (C.C.P.) from Drexel University, after which he took a full time position as as a certified clinical perfusionist at the University of Virginia Health System. Perfusionists manage the “heart-lung machine” that keeps people alive during cardiac surgery. This job requires a sound understanding of physics, physiology, and mechanical equipment, the ability to make rapid decisions, and durability under periods of extreme stress.
Kevin began homebrewing in 2011. He has a deep knowledge of the science and theory behind brewing (see his blog, https://whatsbrewingincharlottesville.wordpress.com/ for reference). In 2013 his Imperial Stout won 2nd overall (out of approximately 500 entries) in the Dominion Cup. Since that time, he became increasingly interested in changing professions and began this transition by spending time at several local breweries in Charlottesville, VA and Central Virginia generally, gaining experience on larger systems. He also enrolled in Piedmont Virginia Community College's recently developed certificate course in craft brewing.
Kevin is married to Shannon McElroy, who he has known since high school. They have two small children – a daughter, Keagan (3) and a son, Jameson (1). Shannon is a pediatric oncology nurse and also teaches yoga at ACAC. They are both native Virginians, hailing originally from "The 757."
Business Development and Finance (Bradley Kipp)
Bradley attended Vanderbilt University as an undergraduate, after which he worked at Wachovia in Charlotte, NC, prior to matriculating at the Darden School of Business where he earned his M.B.A. While at Darden he interned at Investure and after graduation he began working for a startup called Cardagin (which built iPhone and Android apps for loyalty cards). He left Cardagin to start UpHex, a software company providing analytics management for digital marketers.
General Manager (Zac Culbertson)
Zac Culbertson has decades of experience in the food and beverage industry, working his way up to the acquisition and operation of the Cowboy Cafe in Arlington, VA. After four years of successful ownership and growth Zac sold the Cowboy Cafe in order to start Root & Stem Catering, also in Northern Virginia, which he operated for two years. Under Zac’s ownership Root & Stem was the only DC area catering outfit to carry both the Green Restaurant and REAL food Certifications. Approximately two years ago Zac and his family left the DC gridlock for the greener pastures of central Virginia, taking over Cold Country Salmon, a fisherman direct, retail fish operation which takes him to Alaska every summer, and starting Heartwood Farm, a pastured animal operation he runs out of Louisa County, VA. Somehow, he also finds the time to manage the tasting room at Random Row. Zac, a native of Virginia, has known some of Random Row’s owners for over twenty years through competitive scholastic and collegiate track & field (now he mostly mountain bikes), and is a long-time friend.