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Our Story

The Founders: The story of how Hardywood Park Craft Brewery came to be is about as old as it’s co-founders, Eric McKay and Patrick Murtaugh. Lifelong friends, Eric and Patrick first discovered hand crafted beer in 2001 at a sheep station in Australia called Hardywood Park, and have been brewing and introducing people to great beer ever since.

Eric and Patrick have worked as brewers apprentices, bar tenders, and for nearly a decade, in sales and marketing for a leading group of craft beer distributors. Accomplished home brewers, Eric and Patrick are both BJCP judges.

While working as the marketing director for one of America’s leading craft beer wholesalers, Eric created and the BeerCloud mobile app, he served as a speaker on beer marketing strategy innovation at several beer industry conferences around the country, he earned his MBA with honors from Fordham University, he was selected to serve as a GABF judge and he became Richmond’s first Certified Cicerone™.

Following in the footsteps of three generations of brewers in his family, Patrick became a full time brewing student at the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago in 2010. After extensive technical coursework at Siebel, Patrick relocated to Munich, Germany for practical brewing training at the renowned Doemens Academy, earning his Master Brewer Certification. Apprenticeships with Brauerei Heller Trum in Bamberg, Germany, as well as Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. and Defiant Brewing Co. in New York, rounded out Patrick’s brewing training.

After a decade of hard work and planning, Eric and Patrick are thrilled to finally have the opportunity to launch the Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, and look forward to spending the rest of their careers helping others discover extraordinary beer.

The Name: Hardywood Park is the place where Eric and Patrick first discovered hand crafted beer. In the fall of 2001, both Eric, for study, and Patrick, for travel, ended up in Australia. The two met up at Hardywood Park, a sheep station outside of Bathurst, New South Wales, where the Crawford family had graciously hosted Eric during his orientation trip, and where days of working on the farm always ended with a wonderful home cooked meal and some of David Crawford’s delicious home brewed amber ale. The degree of flavor and complexity in David’s beer was enlightening, and from that moment on, Eric and Patrick have devoted themselves wholly to the pursuit of brewing the finest ales and lagers available on the planet, and to helping people discover the joy of authentic, hand crafted beer. While the original Hardywood Park has changed owners and names, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery is named in tribute to David Crawford, whose beer inspired Eric and Patrick’s quest.

The Brewery: Hardywood Park Craft Brewery operates in a 12,000 square foot, fully conditioned building situated between the Diamond and the Fan, in the heart of a historic German brewing district in Richmond, Virginia. Every recipe is perfected on a 20-gallon pilot brewery before graduating to a custom built, 20-barrel Newlands brewhouse. The brewery is equipped to produce a range of traditional European ales and lagers, as well as a host of innovative new styles with American, Virginian, and specifically, Richmond, influences. Hardywood Park Craft Brewery works hard to serve as a steward in environmental preservation. 100% of the brewery’s electricity comes from sustainable energy sources (99% wind power, 1% other renewable energy) via the Dominion Green Power program. Hardywood also employs high efficiency equipment which helps minimize water usage at the brewery, recycles its residual grain for composting and feed, uses 100% recycled packaging, uses reclaimed and sustainably "TreeCycled" wood for furniture, fixtures, tap handles and coasters, and maintains a nearly paperless office environment.

Our Mission: to become one of the most respected brewers in the United States through integrity in our ingredients and in our business practices, through respect for brewing heritage, and through the inspired creation of extraordinary beers.

  • Integrity is paramount in both our ingredients and in our business practices. Hardywood will never compromise when selecting ingredients and adapting techniques, nor when hiring new team members. We will strive to be valuable contributors to the local Richmond community, and to the broader community of craft brewers that is growing nationwide.
  • Heritage plays a central role in our tremendous respect for beer and brewing. More than 50 centuries of talented brewers before us, including three generations in Master Brewer Patrick Murtaugh's direct lineage, will influence our approach to every aspect of our end product, from the presentation to the libation. Each of our recipes is designed with an adherence to tradition, yet a healthy dose of innovation.
  • Inspired creation is what led us to start a brewery, and it will remain a central theme in our approach to brewing. With our pilot brewery, we will tirelessly strive to create extraordinary beers, and will not graduate a recipe to our full brewhouse until it is capable of providing those who imbibe Hardywood's beers with a truly ethereal experience. We hope to brew with local ingredients whenever possible and will collaborate with farmers, coffee roasters, chocolatiers, spice makers and other artisans in the region to brew beers that showcase the terroir of central Virginia.