Brews and balls

Christopher Alvarez Chedznoy, left, confers across the Basement Brewers of Texas bar with manager Aaron Miller.

Christopher Alvarez Chedzoy says he juggles several careers. He’s a realtor for Brinkman Preferred Properties, currently involved in helping ease Kerrville’s housing shortage. He’s also the co-founder of Basement Brewers of Texas. For fun, he runs with the “Hill Country Blues Rugby” team.

He says his name is also an amalgam. “In college in 1992 I was able to study abroad in Seville, Spain, so I learned Spanish. Later, while I was working for Koth Equipment, they were building meat-packing plants all over the world, and I was an export/import manager living in Kansas City, Mo. There was a group of 20 to 40 Spanish speakers who used to meet for dinner and dancing. That’s where I met Dr. Nancy Alvarez.

“She was Cuban-American, her father was forced out of Cuba, and she was in medical school. I met her three times before I could work up the courage to ask for her phone number, and then she wouldn’t let me write it down. I had to memorize it. We tell people we had our first date April 1, and got married April 2, but it wasn’t the same year.

“We decided we would take each other’s names, so we’re both ‘Alvarez Chedzoy,’ as are our children.”

He says he was born and raised in Watkins Glen, a village in south central New York state near the Finger Lakes. He graduated from Watkins Glen High School, in a class of less than 100, in 1989. He spent one of his high school years in New Zealand, thanks to a Rotary exchange program. His father, James Chedzoy was in Rotary, and took Chedznoy’s mother, Rozita, to meetings. So Chedzoy says he started going to Rotary before he was born, and has been active ever since. His parents are now winter Texans, living in an apartment next to the brewery.

He says he studied international business for two years at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, then finished his bachelor of business science at Pace University. “We were in New York City, so I went to college at night and worked days next door at Brooks Brothers. It was quite an education.”

After working in Kansas City, and meeting Nancy, Chedzoy says he continued his education with an MBA in international banking, at Texas A&M International in Laredo.

He says, “It was the first year of NAFTA, and everything was exciting. As soon as I got to Texas I knew it was where I wanted to be the rest of my life. Now Nancy and I have five ‘anchor babies,’ from fourth grade to a sophomore at Tivy, so we’re set.”

He says he started his own company, “Solar Water Technologies,” which replaced windmills running water pumps with solar panels. He sold that still-successful company to people in Fredericksburg in 2013. But it was that business, and the Kerrville customers he serviced, that brought him to the Hill Country.

The warehouse he used for his solar products also led him into his beer-making business, he says. “I was approached by a beer-nerd friend, who wanted advice on opening a brewery. My warehouse proved to be a good location, so we co-founded Basement Brewers of Texas. I do a lot of the behind-the-scenes business part, and they run the brewing and bar. We had our three-year anniversary Dec. 4.”

Chedzoy says he’s a realtor with Brinkman Preferred Properties, and uses that experience to develop “infill” housing developments, taking advantages in open lots within Kerrville to build affordable houses. Under Loggia Properties LLC, he has two current projects, seven homes on Fifth St. and six homes on Guadalupe St., improving properties that have set vacant for years on Kerrville’s tax rolls.

He says he participates as “chief operating officer” in his wife’s Riverhill Ophthalmology clinic, which is next door to Basement Breweries. “I do all the paperwork, so she can spend all her time being a doctor for her patients.”

But rugby is his “fun-hobby hat,” he says. “I played rugby in college. It’s one of the fastest-growing sports in the U.S. There are a couple of big advantages, compared to American football, in that rugby is co-ed, and more of a lifetime sport, with players well into their 50s. The main differences in play are 15 players on a team, no forward passes, and play never stops through two 40-minute halves. Co-eds play by the same rules, at separate times.”

Chedzoy says there are positions on the field for all types of players, big and small, and fast and slow, and play is scalable to local fields.

“Four years ago I noticed there were a lot of rugby players around, but no team closer than San Antonio. So we started the ‘Hill Country Blues Rugby’ organization, and qualified for our 501(c)3. The City of Kerrville has been fantastic, leasing us our field and including us in their sporting guide. Now we have about 20 seniors and 30 youth participating. One of our young players, Lauren Fahey, will be the first Tivy High School grad recognized for rugby, and we anticipate she will be recruited by a top university team. We’re also on Schreiner University’s radar, and we’re looking forward to establishing an annual tournament.”

That's a lot of hats, but Chedzoy says his most important job is being Dad to his five children. “I have the flexible schedule, but it isn’t always easy. Last year I was dropping off and picking up at four different schools.”

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