Alcohol is a big part of our culture, especially military culture. Despite four years of college in New Orleans and seven years in the Air Force, though, I am not a drinker. For a long time, I wouldn’t even buy anyone else a beer. I tell you this because I want you to understand why what I am about to say next would shock the pants off of those who know me – for the first time in my life, I wish I drank beer. Seriously, that’s how much I love what Dog Tag Brewing is doing.
Dog Tag Brewing is the creation of combat-veteran and Marine Seth Jordan. A former UH-1 pilot who joined the Corps after 9/11, Seth served nine years as an officer, including several tours to Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Although Seth has left active duty, he continues to serve his fellow brothers and sisters in arms as Executive Director of Warriors and Quiet Waters, a non-profit which introduces wounded warriors to the therapeutic beauty of Montana through fly fishing.
Seth didn’t stop at helping those who made it home, however. Instead, he also found a way to make sure that those who didn’t would never be forgotten. Today, Seth tells us what motivated him to start Dog Tag Brewing and how he’s using an “adult beverage” to keep the memories of fallen heroes alive this Memorial Day and every day.
1) Many veterans are turning to entrepreneurship in their post-military lives and many of these vetrepreneurs are using their businesses to pay homage to their fellow veterans. What made you decide on beer as your way to honor them?
We are excited to use beer as a way to tell our message because many times sharing a beer with others truly becomes an engaging social event. When you drink beer, you usually do it in the company of friends. We want to re-invent the toast with our beer. We want our consumers to take a hard look at each beer they possess and understand that the particular can in their hands is dedicated to someone who has given their life in defense of our great country. With our beer and our new can designs, we can turn what is normally an ordinary product into a messaging tool. To us, that is pretty neat.
2) Your company is using several methods to carry on the legacy of veterans who died while serving. Can you tell us a little bit about those methods?
We are using a brand new technology offered by Rexam, one of the largest can manufacturers in the world. This new technology allows us to feature a different fallen hero on each of our cans, enabling us to deliver twelve different designs to one filling line. Without this innovative technology, we would not be able to tell so many stories at one time and there would be no variety within a six pack.
Each can provides the name and a short synopsis of how that warrior paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. From there, consumers can then visit our website and social media outlets to learn more about each hero, view their pictures and videos and, if they wish, donate to the organization of their family’s choice. Not only do we share their stories and raise funds for their causes, Dog Tag Brewing sponsors events, like the Beef and Beer Benefit in Pinehurst, NC which pays tribute to two fallen Green Berets, to generate additional awareness about these courageous servicemen and further support their families.
3) We’ve lost over 6,000 servicemembers since the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan started. How did you choose which twelve of the fallen to honor on your cans?
We carefully and respectfully approached 12 Gold Star families that I knew through very close friends and family. Each one of them lost loved ones with profound stories of bravery and heroism and it is an honor for me to be able to share their stories on our cans. It makes me proud that I have gotten to know these families better and now we have become friends. I hope others will find it rewarding to know more about these families and the committed journey to preserve their loved one’s memory. It is our intent to tell every story we can as long as we have the permission of the families.
4) Every aspect of the company – from the logo to the slogan to the can design – was clearly carefully thought out. We were all taught attention to detail during our time in service, of course, but I get the feeling there’s more to it than that. How personal is Dog Tag’s mission to you?
After having lost many close friends and squadron mates over the last decade, the word “personal” does not come close to describing what Dog Tag’s mission means to me. It’s intimate, there’s a constant call from within that won’t let these heroes go unnoticed, forgotten or ignored. I wear a steel bracelet around my wrist every day with the names of 7 Marines in my squadron that perished in a training mission and I will never forget their sacrifice.
Our nation’s fallen warriors are not nameless, faceless statistics. They were beloved members of families and are missed dearly by so many. No one alive gave what they gave, and I will ensure in every way that I can that they will never be forgotten and their stories will stand the test of time. What drives me each day to make this the best company I can is the fact I don’t want to let these families down.
5) Dog Tag cans just hit the shelves a few weeks ago. Where can interested parties find it and what can non-drinkers like myself do to support Dog Tag’s mission?
If you are not a beer-drinker, you can still support our mission by spreading our message, attending events, following us online or donating to the organizations that our Gold Star families have chosen. If you are a beer drinker, please look for us in the marketplace. If you don’t see us, demand it from your local vendor and help us bang the drum and get the word out. Tell everyone Dog Tag Brewing has great beer, even better message.
You can find out more about their upcoming participation in the Beef and Beer Benefit May 29th here.
And you can find out more about Warriors and Quiet Waters here.
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