Virginia Beach-based veterans to open brewery

Posted at 11:23 PM, Aug 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-22 10:34:22-04

Virginia Beach, Va. - Two Virginia Beach natives and young veterans have traded in camouflage and helmets for hops and taps. They took the determination and hard work they learned while serving our country, and decided to enlist as brewers.

"Cost of the other things, small problems just kind of pale in comparison," Neil McCanon of Young Veterans Brewing Company said. "You don't sweat the small stuff anymore because you know what it is to sweat much bigger, more important things."

Best friends since high school, Neil McCanon and Thomas Wilder started home brewing six years ago. The dream started in their kitchen and went from a whim to a reality.

"Opening a brewery seemed like a really good idea and at the time, it was a very immature idea," Wilder said. 'We were just going, 'We can open a brewery, no problem.'"

There's more manual labor then they anticipated, but the Army trained them for that.
Fortunately, the duo at young veteran brewing company is committed to prevent their dreams from tapping out.

"We get burned a lot, we get cut a lot," Wilder said. "We hit our heads on things all the time."

Their equipment is American-made. They try to buy from companies that have a track record of employing veterans. Right now, young veterans brewing isn't open, but that's about to change, though.

"I guess this is the first public announcement. We're looking at the first week of September to open to have the tap room open and beer flowing," Wilder said.

If you come down in a couple weeks, you'll get your fill of jet noise. A hoppy double-IPA that pays tribute to their roaring neighbors above.

"They're one of the only people out there with a job that's cooler than mine," McCanon said.

The tasting room is scheduled to open up the first weekend of September.

Young Veterans Brewing Company can be found at 2505 Horse Pasture Road in Virginia Beach.

Saturday, August 24th, they'll be competing against other local breweries at a craft beer competition at 80/20 Burger Bar in the Ghent neighborhood of Norfolk.