For the next month, local craft brewery Fair Winds Brewing Company is running their annual “Buy a Vet a Beer” campaign in which patrons have the opportunity to purchase a beer to be reserved for a service member, be they a veteran or active duty. In addition to buying a service member a cold one, customers also have the chance to write their own message of gratitude to be displayed in the Fair Winds Brewing taproom.
Casey Jones – CEO, founder and veteran of the United States Coast Guard – sees “Buy a Vet a Beer” as the perfect way to combine his passion for craft beer, respect for his fellow service members, and the sense of community both help to cultivate.
“We started this two years ago and it is an effort to ensure that we, as a brewery and as a community, recognize the service of those who have gone before us that allow us to have these wonderfully fun jobs like brewing beer,” he said. “Unfortunately Virginia ABC has rules; you can’t give away beer. So we said if we wanted to honor veterans and active duty and say ‘thank you for your service,’ as a brewery, we think one of the best ways to thank someone is to buy them a beer.”
On Veterans Day on Nov. 11, at the conclusion of the campaign, any veterans or active duty service members who come into the Fair Winds Brewing Company taproom in Lorton will receive their first beer free. In addition to the social recognition and gratitude expressed through buying someone a beer and giving a written note of thanks, a portion of the proceeds is donated to the Virginia chapter of the Disabled American Veterans organization. More specifically, Fair Winds Brewing will be donating to the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic.
“[It’s] an amazing clinic where they take these ladies and gentlemen who have received horrible injuries in some of these recent conflicts and they help them to look past their disabilities into what they still can do,” explained Jones. Thanks to donations from campaigns like “Buy a Vet a Beer,” this clinic is able to continue to take these veterans on skiing and snowboarding trips like they will April 1-6, 2018 to Snowmass Village, Co.
In its first year, “Buy a Vet a Beer” sold 150 beers to veterans, going on to double that number in 2016. This year, Fair Winds is aiming for a mark of 500 beers bought for veterans.
On top of “Buy a Vet a Beer,” the fall is a busy time for Fair Winds Brewing Company due to special events and seasonal beer releases. On Oct. 28, the brewery will be hosting “Horde-O-Ween,” in which the fan club of the Big O and Dukes podcast descends upon Fair Winds for an evening of costume contests, beer releases, food trucks and more.
Resisting the popular urge to infuse everything with Pumpkin Spice – a trend Jones says is on its way out – Fair Winds Brewing Company is releasing its dark seasonal beer “Blackened Seas,” a Black Cherry Porter, this Friday, Oct. 13. Beyond that, their “Dank & Stormy” Imperial IPA comes out in November and their “Ghost of the Mariner” Imperial Stout comes available in December.
Fair Winds Brewing Company is located at 7000 Newington Rd., Suites K and L, in Lorton, Va. 22079. For more information visit www.fairwindsbrewing.com