Grower Perspectives: Veterans Blend
Inspired by our own military Veteran employees, Yakima Chief Hops launched their annual community hop blend, the Veterans Blend, in 2018. Each year, YCH collaborates with military Veteran brewers representing multiple branches of the US Armed Forces to choose a new hop blend and nonprofit organization. For every pound sold, $3 is donated to the chosen charity supporting United States Veterans. Brewers are encouraged to multiply the philanthropic efforts of YCH through their own events and promotions.
Last year, nearly $24,000 was donated to the Semper Fi Fund through the sale of the 2018 Veterans Blend, and breweries across the country participated in creating their own special beers in honor of our servicemen and women. Not only did this blend help to make a monetary impact on the Veteran community, but we also discovered an overwhelming number of military Veterans in the hop and brewing industries.
Through this project, military Veterans from the hop community have connected with those from the brewing community, all with the shared passion for supporting their fellow Veterans. The Veterans Blend quickly became about connecting heroes from field to pint while contributing to nonprofit organizations that are doing important work to help our Veterans. Read our recent interview with military Veteran hop farmer and YCH grower owner, Patrick Gasseling of Gasseling Ranches about what the Veterans Blend means to him.
- What is your connection to the US Armed Forces?
- I spent 2 ½ years active duty Army and 5 ½ years Army reserve and IRR.
- Describe your background and current position in the hop industry.
- I was raised on our family’s hop farm. The only time I was not on the farm was during my active duty service. I am now president of Gasseling Ranches, Inc and serve on the Washington Hop Commission board.
- Why do you feel nonprofit organizations like the Wounded Warrior Family Support Fund are valuable to the Veteran community?
- Our service members and their families sacrifice more than most people will ever know. The support that organizations like WWFSD provide for our service members/families is priceless. Without these organizations these military families would not be getting the help they need and deserve.
- What are your thoughts on YCH’s community hop blend program, and the Veterans Blend specifically?
- YCH’s hop blend program provides donations to some great organizations. To me, the Veterans Blend is a very special program. It gives back to those who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
- Aside from providing monetary value to Veteran-related organizations, how is the Veterans Blend a meaningful project?
- It helps Veterans understand that they are not alone and that people support and appreciate their service and sacrifice.
- How would you like to see the Veterans Blend project expand?
- I would hope that more breweries use the Veterans Blend so more people can raise a glass and support a very special group of people.
- If you could name any beer brewed with the Veterans Blend, what would you name it?
- If I were to name a beer brewed with the Veterans Blend I would call it, 50 stars IPA. 50 stars, refers to the Flag of the USA, a symbol of freedom many die to defend.