Local Brewer Makes Craft Beer ‘Great Again’ At Presidential Inauguration
Darcy Heisey, a Gretna, Louisiana, native who’s “Minister of Beer” at Brew Republic Bierwerks, a craft brewery located in Woodbridge, Virginia, brewed 50 kegs of limited release, craft Inaugur-Ale Winter Spiced Ale and Great Again American Stout served on tap at the Presidential Inaugural Victory Reception on Thursday, Jan. 19, and the Salute Our Armed Services Ball on Friday, Jan. 20.
Brew Republic was the only brewery approved to develop special edition beers for the inaugural events.
“The Inaugur-Ale is a medium-bodied and sweet-finishing spiced English amber ale brewed with locally sourced honey, fresh ginger and cinnamon sticks making it the perfect way to bridge divides and bring everyone together,” Heisey said. “Great Again American Stout is an easy drinking and silky smooth, dark American ale with prominent coffee and chocolate flavors and a dry finish. Our hope is that these beers will be a salute to America, particularly the American craft brewing industry. The thing about us is we craft beer for the people, by the people.”
“Beer is apolitical,” Ryan Heisey, “Minister of Operations” for the brewery, said. “It’s bipartisan, and as our nation celebrates the peaceful transfer of power, we hope our beer brings people together from every corner, culture and philosophy. That’s the power of beer, and we look forward to it uniting all Americans.”
Brew Republic is a veteran, woman and minority-owned small business that brews handcrafted ales and lagers via a ten barrel brewing system turning out 20 barrels of craft brewed beer per week (1,000 barrels per year) at its 4,000 square foot facility located in the Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center retail mall.
More than just a craft brewery and tap room, featuring 12 taps and upscale small-plates and appetizers, Brew Republic infuses a political narrative calling customers “citizens” who represent a “rising nation of people who deserve better,” and its employees “agents,” many of whom are affiliated with the military.
Of the four principals, Darcy Heisey was in the Air Force, husband Ryan Heisey was in the Army and Brew Republic’s “Prime Minister,” Jeffrey M. Frederick, was in the Navy. He and his wife, Amy Noone Frederick, the fourth owner and “Minister of Citizenry,” are immersed in politics and beer.
Amy was senior advisor to GOP presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina, and her late father, Pat Noone, was a top executive at D.G. Yuengling & Son, America’s oldest brewery. Jeff served three terms as a Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates, was the chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia and a member of the Republican National Committee.
“We’ve been in the political business for a while,” Frederick said. “Reince Priebus and I were State Chairman together on the RNC, and [Presidential advisor] Kellyanne [Conway] and [White House press secretary Sean] Spicer are old friends, as well as [Domestic Policy Council Director] Andrew Bremberg, whose wife was my legislative aide.”
When Frederick approached the Presidential Inaugural Committee to serve his signature libations, he was asked to bring enough to pour for 3,000 attendees at each of the two events, and to bring commemorative items including cups, coasters, beer glasses and koozies.
“We brewed these beers with the inauguration in mind,” he said. “At the Victory Reception we served donors, supporters and members of the RNC. We have a number of active, former and retired military investors and employees, and they really enjoyed serving our beer at the Salute Our Armed Services Inaugural Ball where they got to see many of their military heroes.”
Frederick said when boozing it up at the Ball with servicemembers from all branches of service, including the National Guard and Reserves, he congratulated General James Norman "Mad Dog" Mattis, and one of his Brew Republic Marine staffers got to shake his hand right after he was confirmed as Secretary of Defense that night.
“I support our veterans in so many ways, and they were there for a special reason,” Stacey Serro, owner of New Orleans interior design firm p-l-a-i-d, inc., said. Serro’s currently working on the interior of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New Orleans, and received an invitation to attend the Ball. There, she was drinking in the patriotism, the servicemembers’ moving stories and the beer.
“Brew Republic was donating the beer for the event, making that night even more special for all the soldiers and veterans. My group favored the Ale to the Stout 3 to 2.”
Gila Bronner, president of strategy consultant firm Bonner Group LLC, who conducts business in New Orleans, was equally intoxicated by the splendor of the evening and the exclusive brews.
“I’ve been to almost every inauguration since Ronald Reagan, regardless of party affiliation,” she said. “This one was the most special of all because of the Salute Our Armed Services Ball. You really get to appreciate all the individuals that represent every branch of service.”
“Brew Republic is a company that embraces veterans and the service community,” she said. “I find that now, more companies are more sensitive to, market to and embody support for the military framework and those who serve on our behalf. And the names for the beers, ‘Inaugur-Ale’ and ‘Great Again’ were timely, clever and catchy.”
“I wanted to create something unique and interesting and not an everyday beer,” Minister of Beer Heisey said about her two original recipe brews. “We are a new nation of beer drinkers, makers, enthusiasts, advocates and storytellers.”
Celebrating the military members at the Ball was a priority for Army Colonel Bill Roberti, USA (RET) and his wife Suzette Toledano, who both divide their time amongst several cities including New Orleans. Roberti and four-star Army General Jack Keane, USA (RET) both donated funds to enable Brew Republic to bring its heady brews to the Ball.
“I believe in Jeff and Amy, and that’s the real reason why I invested in Brew Republic,” Roberti said. “They are young entrepreneurs, and I’m very impressed with their craft beer startup because of its emphasis and respect for the military. I was fully in favor of their desire to serve beer to the troops at the Ball. Everyone got a mug and a coaster, and the beer went over extraordinarily well.”
“It’s a source of pride for our brewery that so many attendees at the events were drinking our beer and bringing home our inaugural keepsakes,” Frederick said. “We were honored to do this project and proud to have had this opportunity. Even if the election had a different result, we would have also been honored to participate in this way if asked.”
Brew Republic started to pour from its flagship last September with a particular, palatable mission – offering a premium beer option to those thirsty for higher quality. The brewery sells T-shirts with the phrase “The right to drink great beer shall not be infringed” on them, further illustrating its governing policy.
Brew Republic is already exploring expanding to different markets and Beer Minister Heisey said she has dibs on the brewery and tap room in New Orleans. “I’d love to have multiple locations in different states and different cities,” Heisey said. “But we will concentrate on the craft aspect no matter how expansive the company gets.”
“If not New Orleans, where?” Dr. Craig Deligdish, a consultant for Gretna, Louisiana, law firm Vezina and Gattuso, said. Dr. Deligdish was also table-hopping at the Ball, and was one of the sponsors to help Brew Republic bring its beer to the party. He believes the company is the whole package.
“The beer was excellent, better than most craft beers,” he said. “New Orleans could benefit from some more diversity in its drinking habits. Those into craft beer should take a serious look at this company.”
“In New Orleans, the craft beer scene really exploded,” Beer Minister Heisey said. “It’s amazing how many beer selections there are. What works for us is to apply the opinions and demands of what people really want in their beer. We craft beer according to what people are asking for.”
Heisey said her favorite local breweries include NOLA Brewing, Abita in Covington, Louisiana, and Lazy Magnolia in Kiln, Mississippi.
“When I met Jeff, he mentioned he was considering opening a brewery in New Orleans,” interior designer Serro said. “He’s taken the time to look at the breweries that are already here, all of which he has great respect for, to make sure his product will fit in well. He’s determined to do it right.”
“We would love to expand to New Orleans,” Frederick said. “And, if and when there’s a Louisiana distributor interested in handling our product, I’d be happy to take that call.”
“I discussed it with Jeff, and I support bringing Brew Republic to New Orleans,” Roberti said. “Bringing their craft beer experience to New Orleans would be terrific, great for the French Quarter.”
“The brewery and our business is still young, but we’d love to serve our beers at more armed services events and will run after every opportunity to do so,” Frederick said. “As we grow and our distribution increases, we hope to do just that, at auxiliary organizations, including military country clubs, VFWs and American Legions. If we get a lead, we’ll jump all over it.”
While Trump’s inaugural committee signed off on the special edition beers, Frederick said he doesn’t know if any of his beer ever reached a member of President Trump’s family at the Ball.
“The President actually doesn’t drink, but we’d love to know if any of his family tried our beer,” he said. “We didn’t hear either way, but perhaps at some point we will.”
“Our mission is to create a new nation of beer, for the people, by the people,” he said. “We raise a glass to the thirsty beer drinking masses, country and the Republic.”
Brew Republic Bierwerks
Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center
15201 Potomac Town Pl.
Woodbridge, VA 22191