Thursday, April 12, 2012

Founding Fathers gives back to armed services

CLARKSVILLE, TENN. — In tough economic times most businesses find it difficult to be as generous as they’d like to be when it comes to sponsorship and charitable donations.

Which makes it even more surprising when a new company not only chooses to make donation of profits a key aspect of its business model, but pledges a full 50 percent.

“I started the business in 2009 based on a principle similar to Paul Newman’s,” said Phil Knutsen, founder of Founding Fathers Products, a Minnesota company opening its own brewery in Memphis to ensure Tennessee is included in a full national roll-out of its new range of premium lagers.

“We weren’t interested in being completely nonprofit like Newman, but we did want to donate a large proportion of our profits.”

The charitable aspect of Founding Fathers has a firm focus on military support; every state the product is available in the company chooses two military charities to give a portion of the 50 percent profit donation to.

“Here in Tennessee we’re donating to Operation Homefront and the Armed Forces Relief Trust,” said Knutsen.

Where could have been more fitting to hold a launch for Founding Fathers’ new lager on Tuesday than the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 11160 on Lafayette? Vets from Clarksville gathered on a day that, though wasn’t the hottest the city has seen, was hot enough to be a perfect excuse to take in a refreshing lager.

“The market (of premium domestic lager) hasn’t seen a new competitor certainly in my lifetime,” said Knutsen, adding that most lagers available in the U.S. are of Canadian or Belgian origin. “We wanted to make an American product that gives back to Americans.”

“This means we can continue on our mission,” said Tina Englen, chapter president of Operation Homefront in Tennessee and Kentucky. “Our partnership with Founding Fathers will reassure our troops that we’re there for them. We’re very excited.”

Founding Fathers has more patriotically aimed plans in the near future, including the release of another premium beer on the Fourth of July.

Original release of the story can be found at

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