U.S. Navy Admiral David Farragut’s words from the Battle of Mobile Bay 150 years ago encapsulate the spirit of the Veteran Beer Company as we celebrate our first anniversary. One year ago, we introduced the Veteran amber lager and the Blonde Bomber blonde ale into the market in Illinois and Indiana.
Now, a year later, we’re in six states (with a seventh, Michigan, about to come on line). We’ve touched hundreds of Veteran lives with the story and the effort that has gone into achieving this first anniversary.
It hasn’t been easy (what worthwhile thing in life is?), and at times it’s been oppressively difficult. Still, one year and tens of thousands of cases of beer later, the Veteran Beer Company hasn’t simply survived a difficult year one, it’s thrived.
When we started, we promised to employ only Veterans. That’s exactly what we’ve done. Our growing team is exclusively Veteran. We promised to make every effort to buy from Veteran-owned businesses in our supply chain. From packaging to paper and printed materials, we’ve been successful. (In fact, in year two we’ll begin brewing at least some of our beer at a Veteran-owned brewery. Stay tuned.) We’ve also been successful in having everyone in our supply chain agree to a Veterans-first hiring policy.
We committed to contributing 10 percent of our profits to Veteran’s charities. In spite of the fact that we’re not yet profitable, we’re well ahead of that commitment, with dozens of Veteran-specific charities benefitting from our largesse over the last 12 months.
We committed to brewing the finest craft beer in America, using only the best ingredients, in small batches to achieve the highest quality. The numerous awards our beers have won speak for themselves.
That’s where we’ve been. Here’s where we’re going.
We’re going to continue to hire only Veterans because Veterans represent the best (and most underutilized) human resource available to American business. Every Veteran we hire represents a competitive advantage for us over companies that don’t hire Veterans.
We’re expanding our product line. Our Veteran brewers have developed new recipes that will keep gaining market share in the craft market. I spent part of last weekend tasting the final versions of our IPA, our porter, and our honey brown ale. (We’re making room on the trophy shelf for more awards, thanks to Nathan and his Army mentor, Ray.)
As I mentioned above, as we expand our product line, we’ll be adding an additional production center–this one will be Veteran-owned.
We’ll be strengthening our ties to our distributor partners, and to the retail network that sells our product. Last year we did hundreds of tastings. We’re doubling down on that effort and you’ll see more of the Veteran team in every one of our markets in the year to come.
Service will remain a hallmark of the Veteran Beer Company. The dozens of local Veterans charities will continue to benefit from our commitment to generosity, and we’ll be adding still more charities in year two.
The only way any of this is possible is by having a great team of committed Veterans pushing, pulling, dragging, and willing the company forward. We met as a team over the weekend, and I was humbled to be surrounded by such talented and dedicated Veterans.
There is nothing easy about the first year in a start-up business, especially when you put your mission above your profits right from the jump. We’ve taken more than our share of lumps along the way, but in the spirit of Admiral Farragut, we’re steaming ahead at full speed.
Thank you for your interest in the Veteran Beer Company.
Keep an eye on this space and you’ll find that we will continue to damn the torpedoes (in whatever form they should appear), while moving forward at full speed.
Paul Jenkins, President and CEO