Armed Forces Brewing company worker in front of beer silo and wall they built with cans


Military-themed brewery tries to raise investment capital by building massive beer can wall on the U.S.-Mexico border

It says the wall is about helping veterans, though.


Marlon Ettinger


Posted on Apr 17, 2024

Armed Forces Brewing Company, a culture war-waging craft brewery whose business plan leans heavily on hyper-patriotic, pro-military imagery and pro-veteran marketing, is promoting a 48,000 beer can wall it built on the southern border recently to “bring awareness to the problems for our U.S. Veterans, active-duty troops and their families caused by the flood of illegal immigrants into our great country through the southern border.”

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The brewery promoted the beer can wall stunt to spur investment in the business, encouraging potential investors to join 10,000 other “patriotic” people in building the company.

“Your early-stage investment will help us to make more great American beer, create more jobs for Veterans and their family members, and continue our growth across America!” reads a marketing pitch on a landing page promoting the beer can wall campaign. “Our last public offering sold out due to the overwhelming number of investments from patriotic Americans around our great country! We won’t be satisfied until every red-blooded American can get our beer in all 50 states, so we welcome even more of you to join us on our mission as we continue to expand.”

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According to the company’s CEO Alan Beal, in a video promoting the campaign, the company’s goal is to highlight the effect on veterans of “illegal aliens crossing our porous borders.”

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While Beal said the company fully supports legal immigration, and that legal immigrants helped make the United States the greatest country in the world, he also said that billions of dollars being spent on illegal immigrants should be spent on helping veterans, active-duty troops, and their families.

“This isn’t a political issue, this is an American issue,” Beal declared.

“We know that our wall of beer won’t stop the flood of illegal aliens entering our country, but we also know that the voices of those defending our freedoms need to be heard. We appreciate those who defend our country and our freedoms. We’ll continue to support our veterans and their families every day. It’s the right thing to do and we’re the right company to do it.”

The company has a brewery in Norfolk, Virginia, where it is registered, and claims to have enough brewhouse barrel capacity to service “much of the Eastern Seaboard.”

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But filings with the Security Exchange Commission for the company’s public offering to investors admit that it is far from meeting those ambitions.

According to a section on risk factors in one of the documents, the company admits that it has a very short operating history and “no assurance that the business plan can be executed.” It also admits that investors “risk the loss of their entire investment,” because the industry is “highly speculative and extremely risky.” It also notes that it is competing with companies “with established track records and substantial capital backing.”

In the first half of 2023, the company lost $717,321. Its revenue was just $262,025, selling cans like the 4.2% ABV Preamble, a 6.7% can called “Special Hops,” and a 6.0% coffee porter called “Death from Above,” whose can shows planes on a bombing run.

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As part of its pitch to investors, the company has leaned heavily on culture war-style marketing like the beer wall stunt. Its Norfolk brewery faced community opposition thanks to former Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill’s involvement in the company. O’Neill, who claims to have killed Osama Bin Laden, was arrested in Texas last year for allegedly drunkenly attacking a Texas hotel security officer and calling him a “f–ing N-word,” reported The Dallas Morning News

Norfolk activists pointed to that incident and tweets from O’Neill to argue that the local city council should deny the company planning permits, reported the Virginian-Pilot. O’Neill, who’s been a brand ambassador for the company, owned a 6% stake in the company as of Aug. 25, 2023.

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And while the company got its permits in December last year, activists also pointed to posts from another promoter of the company, Gretchen Smith.

One tweet she made, from last November, was a darker sort of a preview of the beer can wall campaign.

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“Mass deportation is the only way to save our nation. The enemy is here,” Smith wrote. “I am terrified about flying home in Dec. We have a layover in LA. There are credible threats across many cities in our nation. Multiple individual attacks and infrastructure attacks. We are in real danger.”

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*First Published: Apr 17, 2024, 2:58 pm CDT
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