Both big projects and successful businesses take team efforts. Maintaining a top notch craft brewery, for instance, requires the right mix of smart and high-spirited employees who work together — a fair and diligent brewing team, highly skilled brewmasters, by-the-books managers and hard-working boots on the ground that can distribute it all. To find these types of marquee employees, one brewery in particular is looking no further than veterans from America’s armed forces.
The Veteran Beer Co. arrived in the beer marketplace on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, with the launch of its first two hand-crafted beers, The Veteran and The Blonde Bomber. The Chicago-based company is veteran owned and all of its employees are veterans who served in every branch of the military.
“We’re extremely excited and proud to enter the beer market place with two beers of such superior quality and taste,” said Paul Jenkins, president and CEO and former naval aviator. “Our mission is simple. We are applying levels of precision and intensity to create and sell the finest craft beers in the world so in the long run we are able to employ as many veterans as possible, as quickly as possible.”
The company’s goal is to hire 100 veterans within its first year, 500 within three years and 3,500 within five years.
“We intend to change the momentum in veteran unemployment within one generation by showing American business what an incredible resource veterans are,” Jenkins said. “We’re also a business comprised of veterans and are striving to employ those who served our country in uniform in every role within the organization.”
Both beers are being produced at the company’s brewery in Cold Spring, Minn. Monarch Beverage, based in Indianapolis, will distribute the products in the Indiana beer market place. Mautino Distributing Co. and Flyer Beverage Co. will distribute the beer in the Illinois beer market place.
“We are in the business of producing and selling the finest domestic craft beer in America and believe beer drinkers will enjoy our beer and identify with our brand,” said Chad Watson, vice president of sales and brand development. “Ten percent of our profits will go to charities that support veterans causes.”
Ten thousand cases arrived in Chicago on Nov. 6 and are currently available at retail stores in Illinois and Indiana including Binny’s Beverage Depot, Kenwood Liquors, Tony’s Finer Foods, and select Safeway stores, Cardinal Liquors, Nardi’s on Chicago, and The Department. They are also available in Chicago at Hooters, The Lodge, Bootleggers, Mother’s Too, Pippin’s Tavern and Streeter’s Tavern. Both beers will also be available at all Levy Restaurants located inside the United Center in Chicago.
The company’s brewmaster Eric Rine began his career as an aviation supply officer before transitioning to fighter aviation as an F/A-18D Weapon Systems Officer.
“We’re producing two specially developed hand crafted beers,” said Rine, who completed professional brewing courses at the Siebel Institute of Technology, America’s oldest brewing school and the University of California at Davis School of Brewing Science. “The Veteran Amber Lager is an easy-drinking, session beer that can satisfy even the most discerning drinker again and again without being too filling. The Blonde Bomber is an easy-to-drink session, true craft beer created for those who love a beer with a gentle flavor profile and a pleasing texture.”
“We are acutely aware of the challenge veterans face in finding jobs,” Jenkins said. “There would be no need for a company like Veteran Beer Company if the veteran unemployment rate was not three times the national average and the unemployment rate of disabled veterans was not 88 percent. We want to change the momentum in veteran unemployment by providing veterans with meaningful opportunities for post-service careers as we grow the company.”