The Small Business section of the LA Times just ran an article on Fireman’s Brew, a craft beer founded by two real firemen in Los Angeles County. Their puntastic taglines “Extinguish Your Thirst” and “Ignite the Party” make me smile and the fact that it’s brewed by hot firefighters to help other firefighters adds to the appeal.
With every product sold (they also make coffee and root beer), Fireman’s Brew donates a portion of their profit to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. The two founders, Rob Nowaczyk and Ed Walker, came up with the idea about 10 years ago. After fighting a fire together, they sat on a hill chewing barley and dreaming of a having a nice, cold beer. Nowaczyk had been homebrewing for a while and the pair decided to give a commercial beer a try. The next year they began making Fireman’s Brew one keg at a time at a small brewery in Huntington Beach that’s open for public use. Their bottles were labeled by hand and the beer was mostly sold to fire stations. After the guys poured somewhere in the neighborhood of $80,000 of their own money into the venture, it finally seems to be paying off. Walker ended up selling his portion of the company back to Nowaczyk and they’re both still full time firemen.
Fireman’s Brew now offers three different beers on their “Off Duty Drinks” list (Blonde, Brewnette and Redhead) and their “On Duty List” features microbrewed cream soda, root beer and black cherry soda, as well as Three Alarm Blend and False Alarm Decaf coffee. In 2009 the company boasted $500,000 in sales. This year, they’ve already doubled their accounts to more than 200 restaurants, bars and retailers.
If there was any doubt that people love firemen, these guys are living proof. If anyone in Southern California wants to send us a bottle or two, we’ll love you too.
[techtags:FIREMAN’S BREW, CRAFT BEER]