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Chicago: A company of veterans

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America has lots of veterans and generations of us savored the taste of a cold beer at the end of a shift at the factory upon our return from active military duty.
Unfortunately, these days, too many veterans can’t afford bottled water let alone cold beer and there are too few factory jobs available.
The unemployment rate for disabled veterans remains extremely high while unemployment among young veterans is stuck in double digits. Multiple deployments in combat zones have left many of today’s youngest veterans with limited civilian job skills to be sure; however, this story is about a company that's stated mission is to keep the beer flowing while exclusively employing veterans.
Enter retired U.S. Navy pilot Paul Jenkins. He founded Veteran Beer Company in Chicago with the goal of only hiring employees who had served in the military. His primary mission is to carpet bomb unemployment rates among his military brothers and sisters so that more veterans can afford a cold beer or two after their shift should they desire it.
“That was the idea -- just come up with a company that could employ as many veterans as possible, as quickly as possible,” Jenkins said.
Veteran Beer Company has come up with names for its brews that might as easily befit the noses of military aircraft. For example, “Blonde Bomber Ale” and “Veteran Lager” just to mention two of the company's patriotic suds. Okay, so work with me on the latter.
According to the company’s website Jenkins plans to hire “100 Veterans within our first year, 500 Veterans within three years, and 3,500 Veterans within five years.”
Jenkins obviously possesses the kind of patriotism that lasts long after hanging up the flight suits and flack vests. A fundamental creed of the U.S. military has always been to leave no G.I. behind, and even most civilian Americans never forget our warriors. What is far less common is for a veteran to found a company with the explicit goal of employing thousands of veterans. That, my friend, is a patriotic undertaking.
Veteran Brewing beers available at retail stores in Illinois and Indiana include Binny’s Beverage Depot, Kenwood Liquors, Tony’s Finer Foods, and select Safeway stores, Cardinal Wines & Spirits, Nardi’s on Chicago, and The Department. They are also available in Chicago at Hooters, The Lodge, Bootleggers, Mother’s Too, Pippin’s Tavern and Streeter’s Tavern. Both beers will also be available at all Levy Restaurants located inside the United Center in Chicago.
We live in a hyper-litigious society and someday some case-slinging lawyer trying to build his or her reputation will no doubt mount a legal challenge to the notion of hiring veterans exclusively. However, until some attorney challenges this patriotic quest, I propose a toast to our veterans and a symbolic man-hug to the aforementioned former Navy pilot.

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