Iraq war veterans open military-themed brewery

With names like Pineapple Grenade, Even Keel, Night Vision and New Recruit, two Iraq war veterans are hoping to tap into the popularity of craft beers by opening a brewery that sells brews named in military lingo.

Thomas Wilder and Neil McCanon, best friends since junior high, were both deployed to Iraq during the war, Wilder as a combat engineer equipment operator and McCanon as an armored crewman.

When Wilder, who has always enjoyed brewing beer, returned from Iraq in 2005, he had trouble finding work.

The beer poster for Young Veterans Brewery Co.'s signature beer, the Pineapple Grenade. Joker Press Illustration & Design

"It was hard for me to be in a job; it was just odds and ends, the equivalent of working at Wal-Mart or something ... and finding the job was even more hard because we were overqualified for anything we wanted to do, and there just wasn't any jobs, there was nothing for us to do," Wilder said in a telephone interview with CBSNews.com.

After a couple of setbacks, the Young Veterans Brewing Co. is set to open in September in the military-heavy area of Virginia Beach, Va., a mile from a Navy jet base.

"The market is right, being, one, we don't have a lot of breweries, and, two, the area is loaded with military and also because the military doesn't drink a lot of craft beer mainly ... and if we can get the military to drink craft beer then we can really, really widen the market for craft beer as a whole," Wilder said.

The brewery's motto will be "Brewing with the freedom we fought for," which strikes close to Wilder and McCanon's hearts.

"It's about brewing with freedom, brewing with innovation, and then also branching out on your own when you're done with service in a way that is meaningful to you," Wilder said.

Wilder said there's been a lot of anticipation in the area for the brewery to open.

"I get people telling me they drive by the brewery every day just waiting for it to open," said Wilder, "like a kid in the candy shop."