By Anquanette Gaspard, The Virgin Islands Daily News
This brewery and tasting room is set to make its mark on St. Croix and the territory by positioning themselves as a regional brewer offering locally brewed beer featuring local ingredients.
The company was named for the indigenous leatherback sea turtle. Because these world-traveling turtles always return home when the time comes to give birth to the next generation, this animal perfectly embodies the company’s spirit, according to managing partners Aaron Hutchins and Packy Gilbert.
Leatherback Brewing Company hopes to become a major brewer in the Caribbean region. While there are other craft beer breweries in the Virgin Islands — such as Frenchtown Brewing, St. John Brewers and BrewSTX — Leatherback operates on a micro-level with limited distribution, and they said they want to bring all of the breweries in the territory together.
“Rather than being all these separate entities, we want to do some kind of Virgin Islands Craft Brewing Association where we can help one another, especially with the brewing capacity we have available at our facility,” Gilbert said.
Hurricane Maria set them back approximately four months and a good chunk of money because of the cost of delays, loss of contractors and repairs needed to fix hurricane damage.
Despite these setbacks, Leatherback Brewing is on course to open their doors to the public in late April or early May.
Hutchins and Gilbert came together over a few beers in December 2016 and decided to launch Leatherback Brewing Company. Hutchins is a born-and-bred Crucian with a 20-year career in environmental work with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources and The Nature Conservancy. While he enjoyed his work, Hutchins said he wanted to try something different.
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