Backward Flag Brewing Co.: Women-Owned, Veteran-Brewed

Elizabeth Howe
January 30, 2019 - 1:25 pm

Photo courtesy of Backward Flag Brewing

From sand and tents to hops and craft brews. Backward Flag Brewing Co. in Forked River, N.J. is a ten-barrel craft brewery and tap room that distributes statewide in New Jersey — but they're also so much more.

Founder and CEO Torie Fisher served in the Army for 13 years, and after she successfully transitioned from military service to the brewing industry she wanted to help other veterans do the same. So she founded Arms to Artisans

"We take Post-9/11 veterans and transition them from military service to a career in the brewing industry," Fisher explained. "It's a six-month program where we give them a monthly stipend, they spend the first 30 days at our brewery, give them the basics of working in the brewing industry, and then partner with other breweries in New Jersey so they can rotate in and out of those facilities getting hands-on experience."

Backward Flag Brewing Co. also helps to advertise, fund, and spread the word about other veteran organizations.

"We have a canning series called the Forward Assault series. We collaborate with other veteran organizations that exist for the purpose of progressing veterans forward. We design a beer completely around the personality of that organization to include even the label design. We use that can to tell their story. We distribute across the state and basically put that story out there for people that may have never heard of them. Then we donate 10 percent of the profits to that organization," Fisher explained.

Photo courtesy of Backward Flag Brewing

And, each month, Backward Flag Brewing Co. lets one of the servers pick a veteran organization to receive 10 percent of the nightly tips for that month — every month of the year.

"We invite all those charities to our annual anniversary party as our guest and let them tell their story — and present them with a donation check," Fisher explained.

And the story behind the name is as motivating as the veterans who founded the company and the veteran support programs they offer. 

"The whole idea behind Backward Flag and the brand is from the flag on the Army uniform...It's a symbol of always moving forward into the fight, never retreating — a throwback to soldiers on the battlefield charging into the fight with a flag bearer. If you imagine him charging forward on the battlefield and the flag flying into the wind, that's kind of where the backward flag comes from," Fisher said. 

Photo courtesy of Backward Flag Brewing

As for the beer itself, Backward Flag Brewing Co. names each one so that it reflects the company's message or the veterans who founded it. 

"My favorite beer is the Valkyrie 240 — because I kind of named the beer after myself," Fisher explained. "When I was in the military, I was a Black Hawk crew chief so I flew helicopters. And the Valkyries were the goddesses of the battlefield. Their job is to fly around the battlefield and choose who lives and who dies. And the 240 is for the 240 machine gun which was my weapon overseas." 

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