It’s no secret the craft beer movement is really exploding in this country (woohoo!), but this week I discovered a brewery with a mission that isn’t necessarily focused on the typical microbrewery business model.

Fourteen years ago Seth Jordan was an employee at ESPN, located close to the twin towers in New York. After the September 11 attacks, he felt compelled to do something and joined the United States Marine Corps. He was deployed into combat numerous times—three back-to-back tours in Afghanistan—and served as an officer in the Corps for about ten years. He saw firsthand what it was like to lose friends and colleagues in combat.

He and some friends had discussed the possibility of starting a brewery after their military service was complete, but in the end it was Jordan who broadened the dream and got the ball rolling: Dog Tag Brewing (DTB) was founded in 2013, and every can of beer honors the memory of a fallen American soldier.

The mission of DTB is to provide a top-notch, respected craft beer, with a focus on paying homage to military members who have lost their lives in battle. Soldiers who pay the ultimate sacrifice “are not nameless and faceless statistics,” according to Jordan. “These are great Americans with stories of courage and inspiration.” He recently posted on the brewery’s Facebook page that DTB was “designed to be a movement, not a company.” But as interest has spawned growth (their beers have virtually sold out in every market this past summer), they are currently working on a new partnership that should hopefully expand distribution—and their message—nationwide.

DTB works with Gold Star Families and dedicates the story of fallen loved ones on beer cans—their rank, name, hometown, dates of birth and death, and brief description of their combat experience are printed on the side. Says Jordan, “Help remember these folks. [Their] families want to know that their loved ones will be remembered and that their sacrifices will be honored.” Portions of the proceeds go back to charitable organizations chosen by soldiers’ families.

A few stats:

  • Based in Belgrade, Montana
  • Owned by combat veterans
  • Currently produce award-winning Lager and India Pale Ale
  • Beer is brewed at Minhaus Craft Brewery of Wisconsin (using Dog Tag’s recipes)
  • Rexam, an international consumer packaging company, uses a new technology to print the cans. Dog Tag is the first brewer to use it—thus enabling them to have the variety of content printed on cans.
  • Currently available in Montana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia and Wyoming. Contact your local distributor to inquire about having Dog Tag beer available near you!
  • A soldier is only honored on a can when DTB gets approval from the family*
  • A nonprofit was recently started, Dog Tag Brewing Foundation (DTBF), where 100% of all proceeds will go to support Gold Star Family initiatives. According to Jordan, “The board is comprised of all recently transitioned veterans from these past two wars who know what it is like to lose comrades…. We are there to provide financial, consulting and advisory services for the families of the fallen as they prepare to do things in their communities to preserve their loved one’s legacies.”

* If someone has lost a family member due to military combat service, the next of kin should contact DTB directly to have the soldier honored:

In the words of DTB:
Enjoy your beer. That’s an order.

When we typically drink beer, it’s often done while hanging out with friends and family. Take a look at a DTB can and the conversation should naturally focus on the soldier listed on the can and the sacrifices that were made in order for us to be able to continue having beers with friends. As you work your way through that six pack, toast to them as well as toasting the heroes to come.

And for Seth Jordan and Dog Tag Brewing….Bravo Zulu.

For more info:

  • Dog Tag Brewing—Buy a shirt…help the mission! Or donate directly to a fallen soldier’s organization-of-choice
  • DTB Facebook
  • DTB Twitter (@DogTagBrewing)  #Toastahero campaign
  • Untappd: Download the social/networking app that’s all about sharing what beers people are drinking and search for Dog Tag Brewing. See others who are drinking and toasting to DTB heroes

Dog Tag Brewing Logo

In Seth’s own words