Beer Company Employing Vets Debuts First Brews

By Stephanie Parkinson - 21Alive

December 9, 2013 Updated Dec 9, 2013 at 4:31 PM EDT

COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (21Alive) - The Veteran Beer Company launched its first two brews Thursday. The beers debuted only in Indiana, and in the state where the company is headquartered, Illinois.

The Veteran Beer Company was founded by a veteran with a unique business model. Everyone working for Paul Jenkins served in the military.

"Each of us has given something. In some cases, our friends gave it all. And so, I think that is essential. I mean there are not many people in the world who are willing to do that," said Paul Jenkins, Founder, The Veteran Beer Company.

Hoosier native Bennie Fugate spent 28 months serving in the middle east. During that time, he was badly injured. Now, he's labeled as a disabled vet. Before landing a job with Veterans Beer Company he was having trouble finding work.

"I'm on over 10 medications but you know what I'd do it all over," said Bennie Fugate, Employee, Veteran Beer Company.

The employees say there's a sense of brotherhood within the company, that they felt while serving in the military, and it helps them as they continue to adjust to civilian life.

"I lost three great men in Iraq, right next to me. And every day is a struggle to keep their memory alive. And I believe the Veteran Beer Company is doing that," sad Fugate.

Jenkins decided to pick Indiana, as one of the first states to launch his beer in, because of how the state has shown support for the military.

Five Star Distributing will be providing the beers for Northeast Indiana. The president of that company says this partnership has him thinking differently about his own hiring practices.

"What Paul and his team have energized in me now is that, by gosh, there's many, many men and women that are underemployed or unemployed that need a hand, and it's a way to say thank you for the hard work they've done for our country," said Stan Ziherl, President, Five Star Distributing.

Jenkins plans, eventually, to make his beer available nationwide.




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