Georgia brewery started by former Army commander puts service first

Walk into the tasting room at Service Brewing Co. in Savannah, Ga ., and youll come to a wall where youre invited to write your answer to a simple question 😛 TAGEND

How Do You Serve?

Youll also find a corkboard where military members, first responders and other members of the community pin their symbols of service, ranging from Army Ranger tabs to civil service patches.

Thats because Service Brewing Co ., located in a sprawling warehouse by the Savannah River that once served as a paper and cleaning supplying company, stimulates more than pale ales, pilsners and IPAs. By honoring service to country and community, it produces good citizens, too. The company has 23 investors, 20 of whom are military veterans, many of whom company founder Kevin Ryan worked with during his time in the Army.

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Our name, Service, has many meanings, told Ryan, a West Point graduate who trained soldiers as an infantry policeman in Alaska and Colorado and went on to command two companies in Iraq, bringing all of his troops safely home.

It distinguishes my colleagues and my service to our country, the service that soldiers before us provided to their country and the dedication of Service Brewing Co. to give back to charities that support people who service their country and community.

Ryan left the military and returned to civilian life in 2004, a transition he described as a huge, scary leaping. I was leaving a life I knew for 12 years.

He ran at various employment opportunities in New York and South Carolina until February 2012, when his fiancee, Meredith Sutton, dedicated him a home brewing kit on Valentines Day. Two year later, that gift became the impetus for launching Service Brewing.

Being veteran-owned and operated is great, Ryan told. We are disciplined in our approach to business and brewing. Andwe work with the community, local cooks, farmers and retailers.

Today the company has six full-time and seven part-time employees, with many veterans in key postures, including Master Brewer. Ryan also operates an internship partnership with U.S. Special Operation Command Care Coalition.

The names of the brews brewed by Service also reflect the company’s military heritage. There’s Rally Point Bohemian Style Pilsner, Battlewagon Double IPA, Ground Pounder Pale Ale and even a season Gun Bunny Witbier.

Service opened up its space not only for brewing, but for tastings and tours, and it donates a dollar from every tour admission to charity.

We support a lot of grassroots nonprofits, Ryan said. We help them with establishing a presence, so more people can learn about what theyre doing.

The brewerys first charity was The 200 Club, which supports families of fallen firefighters and policemen. It went on to donate to such foundations as Homes for Our Troops, K-9s for Veterans, Second Harvest, Toys for Tots and local schools.

Its last fundraising initiative, the Chatham Savannah Authoritys Tiny House Project for homeless person, wrapped up in May. Its research projects that induces small homes for homeless veterans, told Ryan. Since July, We devoted$ 1 for every tour of the brewery. We dedicated and raised over $15,000 for the project.

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Currently, Service Brewing is creating funds for the SD Gunner Fund, which places service puppies with veterans, children with special needs and schools. Its president and founder, Britnee Kinard, had a career in business before she dedicated herself to caring and advocating for wounded veterans. Her child has autism and her husband has PTSD, and she began training service dogs for her family, Ryan told. Now shes turned it into a charity.

Service Brewing is also rooted in community involvement. It recruited 22 local artists to design innovative, patriotic beer tap handles.

Throughout history, artists have documented our war heroes, famous combats; their narrative in paint, sculpture, and other media brings quality to the world, said Ryans fiancee, Sutton, the companys co-owner and director of creative marketing. This was our route of tip-off our hat to artists and their contribution to our history.

The brewery will expand the project this year to add to Services collecting of tap handles, Ryan told.

Eva Fedderly is a travel, culinary, and political journalist who writes for Travel+ Leisure , Esquire , The Christian Science Monitor , and other publishings. She lives in Savannah, Georgia and can be found on the road and overseas.

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