American Ales: 7 Veteran-Owned Breweries to Support

glasses of craft beer

Supporting veteran-owned businesses is a great way to honor the brave men and women who have served in the United States military. Show your gratitude to U.S. military veterans by supporting these seven awesome veteran-owned breweries.

1. Full Tilt Brewing in Baltimore, MD

Cousins Dan Baumiller and Nick Fertig became interested in brewing craft beer in 2008. At the time, Baumiller was working for the U.S. Department of Defense, and Fertig was serving in the United States Navy.

When Fertig’s service ended, he and Baumiller began homebrewing together as a hobby. They decided founding their own brewery would be a dream come true.

Before co-founding Full Tilt Brewing, Fertig served in the Navy for six years as an Engineering Laboratory Technician on the USS Jacksonville. While serving in the Navy, he was able to try a variety of craft beers at locations across the eastern seaboard.

He was honorably discharged in 2008. He utilizes the skills and experience he gained serving in the military to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams as the co-owner of Full Tilt Brewing.

2. Bayou Teche Brewing in Arnaudville, LA

Bayou Teche is a family-owned and operated brewing company in Arnaudville, Louisiana. The brewery was founded by three brothers: Karlos Knott, president; Byron Knott, head brewer; and Dorsey Knott, taproom manager.

Karlos was stationed in Europe while serving in the U.S. Army. While there, he had the opportunity to sample the local foods and beverages in multiple European countries.

After returning home from a six-year deployment in West Germany, Karlos developed an interest in homebrewing. He endeavored to create craft beer recipes inspired by the beers he tried in Europe. His goal was to brew fine craft beer that would pair well with the Creole and Cajun cuisine he grew up on.

Karlos and his brothers, Byron and Dorsey, began brewing together and served their creations at family gatherings. In 2009, the three brothers decided to found their own company inspired by their shared passion in brewing. Together, they converted an old railroad car on their family’s farm into their farmhouse brewery.

3. Young Veterans Brewing Co. in Virginia Beach, VA

Young Veterans Brewing Co. in Virginia Beach, Virginia, was co-founded by Thomas Wilder and Neil McCanon.

Wilder, head of business operations at the brewery, is a veteran of the Army National Guard. He served for four years as a Combat Engineer and Equipment Operator and then completed a 14-month tour of duty in Iraq.

Wilder dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur. He used the knowledge and discipline he gained through his military service to pursue this dream. He had been a fan of homebrewing as a hobby for years, so owning a brewery seemed like the perfect business venture.

McCanon served in the United States Army for three years with the 1st Infantry Division, and also completed a tour in Iraq. He re-enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves, where he served as a Drill Sergeant for seven years.

A long-time homebrewing aficionado, McCanon worked as an apprentice at the O’Connor Brewing Co. in Norfolk, VA. He then earned a degree in Brewing Science from The Doemens Academy and Siebel Institute. He is now the brewmaster at Young Veterans Brewing Co.

Assistant Brewer Jeremy Hockensmith is a veteran of the Army and Army Reserves.

Every month, the brewery hosts an event to raise money for local veterans’ charities. Veterans and supporters get together to enjoy craft beer, music from local musicians, food from local food trucks and a variety of games and activities. The company aims to raise awareness about veterans’ issues and support veterans’ causes.

three soldiers salute american flag

4. Veterans United Craft Brewery in Jacksonville, FL

Veterans United Craft Brewery is headed by founder and brewmaster Ron Gamble, a U.S. Navy veteran. Gamble chose Jacksonville as the location for his brewery because he considers Florida a particularly pro-military, pro-veteran state.Multiple military veterans staff the veteran-owned and operated company. In fact, more than 80 percent of Gamble’s employees are veterans.

5. Red Leg Brewing Company in Colorado Springs, CO

Red Leg Brewing Company was founded in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on the Fourth of July in 2013. The brewery’s name was inspired by the battlefields of the American Civil War. Civil War soldiers wore red stripes on their pant legs to indicate their locations on the battlefield.

Red Leg Brewing pays homage to American military history with cleverly named craft beers. The nickname for U.S. Marines inspired devil Dog stout. Twin Tail IPA got its name from an aircraft part used in World War II planes. Blue Nose ale was named after a Naval tradition known as The Order of the Blue Nose.

Red Leg founder Todd Baldwin is a U.S. Army veteran. The entrepreneur hopes to inspire and support other military veterans interested in starting their own businesses. Red Leg has partnered with numerous nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping veteran-owned businesses succeed. Baldwin co-founded Veterans Beer Alliance, a nonprofit organization that assists veteran-owned breweries.

6. Service Brewing Co. in Savannah, GA

Kevin Ryan graduated from West Point and went on to serve as an Army commander. After his service, one of his interests was finely brewed craft beer. His loving partner, Meredith Sutton, gave him a set of home brewing supplies as a Valentine’s Day gift. Kevin immersed himself in practicing his craft, and before long he was serving up his creations to family and friends.

Kevin had been in search of a fulfilling career opportunity, so he decided to turn his passion for craft beer into a business venture. In 2014, he and Meredith founded Service Brewing Co. with financial backing from nearly two dozen investors. Most of these investors were Army, Marine Corps and Navy veterans.

Kevin runs the company and continues to research and develop new craft beer recipes. Meredith, an artist and designer, has used her creativity to create a brand aesthetic that honors American military history. She designed the Savannah brewery’s tasting room by drawing inspiration from the stories Kevin told about his experiences serving in the military.

The veteran-owned and operated brewing company has raised tens of thousands of dollars in donations for regional, local and national organizations that assist American veterans and first responders. Some of the organizations Service Brewing Co. has supported include K9s for Warriors, Stop Soldier Suicide, Honor Our Heroes Foundation, Sons of the American Legion, Toys for Tots and The Raider Project.

USA flag on shoulder patch

7. 14th Star Brewing Co. in St. Albans, VT

14th Star is a veteran-owned brewing company in St. Albans, Vermont. Owner and brewer Steve Gagner is a U.S. Army veteran. While deployed in Afghanistan, Gagner contemplated starting his own brewing company after returning home and retiring from the military.

A portion of the profits from the brewery’s signature Valor Ale is donated to the Purple Hearts Reunited Foundation. The organization works to return stolen or lost military medals to their rightful owners. 14th Star also hosts a variety of events to support veterans as well as their local community.

If you’re looking for finely brewed craft beer in New England, 14th Star brews are available in taprooms and retail locations throughout Vermont and Massachusetts.

Conclusion

Honor our veterans by supporting businesses owned and operated by those who have served. The brewing companies on this list are inspiring examples of the American entrepreneurial spirit. These patriotic companies are dedicated to giving back to veterans and their local communities.

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