You’d be hard-pressed to point to a brewery with a more inspiring mission statement than The Veteran Beer Co. It’s a brewery that was established by disabled combat military veterans and is dedicated to providing a quality of life to post-service vets through meaningful careers. In fact, the company’s goal is to hire 100 veterans within its first year, 500 within three years and 3,500 within five years. And that first year started this week on Nov. 11, Veterans Day, when the brewery launched its first two hand-crafted beers, “The Veteran” and “The Blonde Bomber.”
“We’re extremely excited and proud to enter the beverage marketplace 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 Chicago-based company is veteran-owned and all of its employees are veterans who served in every branch of the military.
“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 Indiana. Mautino Distributing Co. and Flyer Beverage Co. will distribute the beer in Illinois.
“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.”
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 Co. if the veteran unemployment rate was not 3 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.”