By: Laura Keil
On Remembrance Day, many people stop to pay their respects to soldiers past and present. But every Friday at Three Ranges Brewing Co. is “Red Friday,” and veteran and brewery owner Michael Lewis is ensuring those soldiers are thought of year-round.
Lewis is a retired 20-year veteran from the U.S. Military who was deployed as a helicopter pilot to turbulent places such as Bosnia and Iraq. Last year, amid a slew of budget cuts that removed a lot of benefits from his fellow veterans, Lewis and his wife Rundi Anderson decided to donate to charities that support veterans and their families. Each Friday they send the equivalent amount as the tip jar to a charity that rotates each month.
But Lewis also decided to brew a beer in recognition of all veterans including future veterans, a specialty beer whose taste has significance. He explains that the Sacrifice Ale is a red ale dedicated to service members past, present, future, and especially to those who gave all. The colour red is for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The malt sweetness signifies making it through the toughest of battles, balanced by the bitterness of the price paid to get there. Finally, he explains, the citrus aroma goes with “the lemon of a deal being handed out by our governments.”
They have already donated over $2000 to various charities from proceeds throughout the year.
This month’s charity “Soldier On” is a program for soldiers who have been physically or emotionally injured to help them adapt and move on in their lives, “To find the motivation and find the fact they can get beyond whatever injury they’re suffering,” Lewis says.
Another charity they have donated to is an animal companion program that matches veterans with a pet to help them deal with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other stresses.
“It’s pretty interesting because PTSD takes on a lot of different forms in people’s lives, and there’s no way to combat it directly until it’s identified by the person suffering from it.”