On Veterans Day, Americans will pay tribute to the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces with parades and ceremonies. Across Tennessee, pints will be raised to honor military service. Nearly a dozen veteran-owned breweries are members of the Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild.
“These men and women served our country and continue to serve our communities as small business owners,” says Guild Executive Director, Sharon Cheek. “I’m grateful for their generosity. They donate product to support local nonprofits, give spent grain to farmers, and create welcoming places to gather.” Cheek says in addition to the veteran-owned breweries, more than half of the Guild’s members employ veterans.
Cheek says she grew up with a special connection to veterans, as both of her grandfathers served in World War II and her dad served in the Army.
Clinton Sallee served for four years in the U.S. Army’s Second Infantry Division in South Korea, and at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He owns Tanasi Brewing and Supplies in Chattanooga. Sallee says he proudly displays a sticker that reads “Veteran Owned Business” on his front door, and it appears on his merchandise and t-shirts.
“It’s important to remember our parents and grandparents that did serve and allow us to live the life that we live,” says Sallee. On a personal level, he says his training and experience gets him through the ups and downs of life and his business. “I think the veteran aspect of my life taught me to push.”
Sallee says about 30-percent of his patrons are veterans, and he’ll be serving them his special Veterans Day IPA called RED, which stands for Remember Everyone Deployed.
Matt Graber is a retired 20-year veteran of U.S. Army Special Operations, and his wife, Emily, currently serves in the Army Reserves. They co-own MoCo Brewing Project in Wartburg, serving craft beer and coffee. During the week of Veterans Day they’ll host “Pints for Patriots” in partnership with Rocky Top Bourbon Charity, a nonprofit helping East Tennessee veterans. Graber will also brew his pale ale called Rangers Lead the Way, named for the 75th Ranger Regiment he served in.
Graber says it’s very satisfying for him to see locals come through the door to mark the federal holiday. “Veterans Day is a day veterans can gather and have a little more camaraderie.”
These Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild breweries are also veteran owned:
- Flanagan Brothers Bierworks and Gypsy Circus Cider Company in Kingsport,
- Round 6 Brewing and Tri-Hop Brewery in Maryville,
- Honeybee Coffee & Brewing and Next Level Brewing Co. in Knoxville,
- Blackhorse Pub and Brewery in Alcoa, and
- Reelfoot Brewery in Trimble.
Craft brew fans are encouraged to visit these veteran-owned businesses. Find them, and more Guild member breweries, on the Tennessee Ale Trail. Registration is free, and points are earned with each brewery check-in.