Troubled Waters Brewing was founded by a father and son duo, Steve and Kevin Shanks. While both grew up in Chicago, they have strong family roots in Safety Harbor. Kevin’s Great Aunt moved to Safety Harbor in the 60s when she built a house. She was involved in the local community and even sold the Chamber of Commerce building to the Chamber. Kevin’s Grandparents often visited her, and when they retired, they purchased a house down the street from her. Steve and Kevin have personally been visiting Safety Harbor for more than 30 years. Around 2009 Steve moved to Safety Harbor after retiring and Kevin made the jump in 2016.
Steve is a firefighter turned brewer. He grew up on the South Side of Chicago, moved to the suburbs where he worked for over 30 years as a firefighter. He retired as the Chief of his fire department in 2008.
Around that time, his handsome young son Kevin was in his final semester at the University of Illinois earning his degree in Economics. Kevin was a big fan of cooking shows and watched an episode of Good Eats with Alton Brown were he showed how to homebrew beer. This instantly got Kevin hooked and he started reading and learning about the subject and eventually brewing his own beer. Once he graduated and returned to his hometown where he started showing his father how to brew, and they were both hooked.
Shortly after that, Steve moved to Florida. He started frequenting a small craft brewery in Tampa that was getting a lot of praise – Cigar City. Eventually, he started working there as a tour guide, educating people from all over the world about craft beer, Cigar City Brewing, and Tampa history. After a few years doing this, he eventually started brewing beer for Cigar City at Tampa International Airport.
Meanwhile, Kevin was still back in Chicago. Coming out of college he decided he wanted to open a brewery tap room up one day. He spent time learning the bar and restaurant industry working in an Irish pub as a Bar Manager and then a craft beer restaurant as General Manager. He met his way-too-good-for-him wife Nikki during this time, and when he was offered the job of Assistant General Manager at the Cigar City tasting room, they decided to move to Florida as well.
After some time working in the Cigar City tasting room, Kevin and Steve decided to set out on their own and open up Troubled Waters Brewing Company. Troubled Waters is set to be open in what is currently Copperheads Taphouse in Safety Harbor by the end of 2018.