VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - After years of offering craft beers, live music, games and scheduled food trucks, Young Veterans Brewing Company has to cut down because of Navy restrictions.
The craft brewery is owned by two Virginia Beach natives who have traded in camouflage and guns for barley and brews. Neil McCanon and Thomas Wilder have been best friends since high school and started the brewery on a whim. They started pouring to the public in 2013 with American-made equipment.
What's on tap? Jet noise, pineapple grenade and 14 other military inspired craft beers.
"We want to represent the veterans in this area, we want to be the brewery that’s themed around the military," said Wilder.
In September, the duo applied to expand the brewery and what came next put a stopper in their plans.
“From the moment we went down to apply for the expansion, a week later we went from going to expand our business to worrying about going out of business,” said McCanon.
Navy representatives sent a letter saying the brewery sits on an easement purchased by the United States in 1983, which limits specific activities for safety reasons. The brewery can keep pouring jet noise, a hoppy double-IPA, but they can't have food trucks, TVs, live music or play games.
“It’s worrisome in that the taproom could potentially suffer it’s revenue. That’s really where it ends," said Wilder. The two young veterans have transformed the taproom to make it more engaging without TVs and live music.
“When we look at challenges we do not like to see what they’re going to do negatively. Try to work around challenges. that’s what we’re doing with this," said McCanon.
The two are planning on continuing to serve the community their craft beers, saying without the community they wouldn't have been as successful.