Chicago beer founded by vets, aims to help them with jobs, profits

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A new beer, brewed by veterans to help veterans, is launching right here in Chicago.

Veteran Beer went on sale today in Illinois and Indiana.

The idea for Veteran Bee rwas  dreamed-up by a Chicagoan and former navy pilot Paul Jenkins. Paul is a disabled vet himself who saw action in the first Gulf War.

Paul came home and noticed some things he really didn’t like: A soaring suicide rate among America’s service members and  a high rate of veteran unemployment which is higher still among disabled vets.

So Paul went into business and made it his new mission to change some things.

“Our idea being that we would seek to employ as many veterans as we could,” he says.

Paul and some pals set to work. The core group was all disabled veterans.

Eric Rine, another pilot who flew for the Marines, has studied brewing and knows the value military service can bring to private enterprise.”

“It promotes a work ethic,” Eric says.  “It promotes a sense of accountability and responsibility that really is very, very difficult to match.”

In July, the founders of the Veteran Beer company laid out their business plan over a beer. They already knew who they wanted to hire and how they wanted to help.

For now, Veteran Beer is only available in Illinois and Indiana, but a piece of each sale goes to support veterans’ programs nation-wide.

And of course, the more they sell the more vets they can hire. They’d like to expand and hire nationwide, and if first-day sales are any indication, they probably will.

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