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Craft Breweries in Virginia

Young Veterans Brewing Co. President Thomas Wilder, left, and head brewer Neil McCanon pose for a photo with glasses of Jet Noise IPA, at the Virginia Beach, Va., brewery. The two Iraq War veterans are set to open the brewery in military-heavy Hampton Roads in September. Virginia, which is celebrating its second craft beer month in August, has seen the industry grow from about 40 craft breweries last year to more than 60 in 2013, with countless more in the works.

Iraq Vets Join Ranks of Va's Rising Craft Beer Biz


Two Iraq War veterans eager to slake a growing American thirst for craft beer are setting up a brewery less than a mile from the main runway for the Navy's East Coast master jet base. Their beers have names like "Jet Noise Double IPA and "Pineapple Grenade Hefeweizen." And their motto strikes a military chord: "Brewing With the Freedom We Fought For."

The 29-year-old Wilder spent more than a year in Iraq after joining the Army National Guard in 2003 right out of high school. He lost two close friends in a 2004 bombing at a base in Mosul that killed 22 people, including 18 Americans. Wilder was in Germany getting surgery at the time of the bombing.

Young Veterans Brewing Co. is set to open in September in military-heavy Hampton Roads. For the brewery president, Thomas Wilder, and the co-founder, Neil McCanon, the business was born of struggles the two endured after they returned to American soil in 2005 from their overseas assignments.

Reporting by Michael Felberbaum, Associated Press.