Birth of a Brewery

In 2012, Shannon and Kevin McElroy were both employed in local healthcare organizations – she as a nurse (pediatric oncology) and he as a Certified Clinical Perfusionist (keeps people alive during cardiac surgery by running the “heart lung machine”).  While brewing beer and “pumping” (as it is called) may not initially seem similar, both require a strong foundation in biology and engineering principles (in particular matter and energy transfer), a firm grasp of mechanical equipment, extraordinary attention to detail, and a strong appreciation for cleanliness and sterility.

For several years, Shannon and Kevin brewed beer at home, and, while passionate about their craft, only dreamed about brewing professionally. Then, in 2013, after Kevin placed 2nd overall in the Dominion Cup homebrewing competition (out of approximately 500 entries) with Keagan’s Imperial Stout, Kevin began to wonder if the skills he had developed during his day job could lend themselves to professional brewing.

As luck would have it, several of the Kevin’s friends and co-workers were also very interested in beer – specifically, his beer.  They were also interested in the concept of founding, partially owning, and participating in the management of a local business.  Working with a co-worker who shared his passion for beer and local business development, Kevin spent over a year doing research on professional brewing and developing a business plan.  On June 20, 2015, Kevin held his first  fundraiser, serving four homebrewed beers in the basement of a friend’s house.  Within 6 days he received the commitments he needed to launch the business, and five days later, on July 1st, Random Row Brewing Company was officially commissioned as a Limited Liability Company in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

For the rest of our story, see our "Birth of a Brewery" blog.  And to learn more about Kevin, check out his "What's Brewing Cville" blog, which is full of useful information for homebrewers as well as insight into his journey from enthusiastic homebrewer to professional.