Nine State Brewery owner Eric Lesage is joining the “Hops for Heroes” campaign and donating the full price of a Homefront Special beer to a national group of veterans every time someone orders a drink.
He’s confident he’ll benefit from Saturday’s fundraiser going to the Soldiers’ Angels. It just won’t be financial.
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In addition to donating the full price to Soldiers’ Angels of the special Hops for Heroes beer, he will also donate an additional $1 to the national charity for every sale he makes of any beer he sells from 200 Tompkins. St., Inverness Brewery Saturday , September 17th.
In turn, Soldiers’ Angels and its volunteers assist active duty personnel, their families, and military veterans with food, care packages when soldiers are sent overseas, and assistance to their families.
The association was founded in 2003 by a mother whose son was sent to Iraq.
The organization is rated four out of four stars by Charitynavagator.org, a website that rates charities and the help they provide.
So why did Lesage agree to donate the full price of the Homefront brew to the charity, including the cost of making it, resulting in financial loss?
Because it would be a moral gain, he says.
“My dad was in the military, my brother-in-law,” he said, sitting in his brewery while his sister whipped up a pumpkin-spiced beer.
Or, as Lesage likes to call it, pumpkin pie in a glass.
We have a lot of veterans coming to support us,” he said. “The whole family is blessed to do this.”
The de Lesage family moved here from Massachusetts.
His father met Lesage’s Korean mother while he was stationed there. She now runs the brewery bar and cooks traditional Korean dishes for her customers. It’s a popular side hustle.
His sister also worked there when she was not working at Lesage’s drawing firm.
And his father works with Eric in brewing beer.
Both will make three barrels, or 93 gallons of the Homefront brew.
The brasserie is open from Friday to Sunday. Lesage says that’s enough days for the area as he has other draftsman work.
It offers four “base” beers that are always on tap and up to a dozen more that are seasonal or intermittent.
This is the first time the Nine State Brewery has worked with Soldiers’ Angels to raise funds.
“The event is part of the annual Soldiers’ Angels campaign that invites craft brewers of all sizes to brew their custom IPA (India Pale Ale) recipe and donate 100% of proceeds from beer sales to national non-profit organization,” Soldiers’ Angels said in a press release. “The craft brewery is one of 16 breweries to participate in the Hops for Heroes 2022 campaign.”
Lesage said the family is grateful to be able to help.
Several years ago, Lesage’s mother needed a kidney transplant and received one. It was from a 27-year-old man from New Jersey.
The community participates in the brewery’s fundraiser every year to cover the cost of the medicines they will need for the rest of their lives.
“The amount of support the community gave to my mum and my family when we had to fundraise after her surgery…we wanted to help others,” he said.
His only regret is that he can’t help more charities.
“We would love to say yes to everyone, but we have to stick to our charities and our budget,” he said.
The Hops for Heroes event at Nine State will take place on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Over 18,000 veterans live in Citrus County. About a third of veterans nationwide have a disability, according to USAFacts.org.
“And that allows us to give back,” Lesage said.