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ARMED FORCES BREWING is independently owned!

First Brewed



Maryland, United States

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Armed Forces Brewing Company was founded in 2019 in Annapolis, Maryland by Alan Beal and a group of investors. The company uses conservative, military focused messaging to reach its target customers, and in 2023 purchased the former O’Connor Brewing Company in Norfolk, Virginia to open up its own taproom. The purchase also came with the announcement of a public offering of its shares through an online crowdfunding platform.

In late 2023, the brewery started to face severe criticism over the comments of some of its major shareholders. Gretchen Smith, who acts as an advisor to the company as well as an investor, was criticized for claiming that Derek Chauvin, murderer of George Floyd, was innocent, and also promoted antisemitic conspiracy theories. Former Navy Seal Robert J. O’Neill, who claims to have been the one to shoot Osama bin Laden, also is an investor and spokesperson for the company. O’Neill has claimed that an enlisted sailor’s performance in a drag show would cause the destruction of the U.S. Navy by China. He was also heard using a racial slur during an arrested in Frisco, Texas in August of 2023 for assaulting a hotel security officer. It should also be noted that his claims of the killing of bin Laden are uncorroborated, and several members of Seal Team 6 dispute his assertions.

As a result of these controversies, the Norfolk planning commission voted 4 to 2 to recommend that the city council deny the company’s permits. The company’s lawyer has threatened to sue the city, asserting that the founders’ political views were the reason for the move. Though the vote was nonbinding, Armed Forces Brewing has yet to receive the go ahead.

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