Bloomberg Businessweek

Brewing Up a Recovery

For the past year, the Tap Room on hurricane-ravaged St. John wasn’t just an oasis where islanders could unwind. It was a place to put the pieces back together.

The restaurant where chef Patrick Allen works survived a devastating fire and two Category 5 hurricanes. On some days, when he arrives to cook up mahi mahi tacos for a mixed crowd of tourists and locals, he wears a T-shirt with a severe weather logo and the words: THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.

“It adds a little levity to the situation,” he says. Allen works at the Tap Room, a pub and brewery that’s now thriving on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a territory hard-hit by Hurricane Irma in September 2017. But if you want the whole story of the bar, you have to go back 15 years. It’s a tale best told over a beer—and one, like many tales about craft brewing, that starts in New England.

Tap Room owners Kevin Chipman and Chirag Vyas met as dormmates at the University of

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