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N.C. Brewery Owner Named 'Vetrepreneur' of the Year

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Touting products as American made is a big sales point for many consumers. / Credit: American flag via Shutterstock

Veteran-owned businesses account for 14 percent of the country’s companies, and one veteran is making waves — and beers — with his four-year-old business.

Fayetteville, N.C. resident Josh Collins is a former green beret who was named J.P. Morgan Chase and National Veteran-Owned Business Owners Association’s (NaVOBA )"Vetrepreneur of the Year." Collins runs Huske House Brewing Company, a business that operates under his own North Carolina-based company, Team Collins.

Collins founded his brewing company three years ago after purchasing several retail properties beginning in 2005. A restaurant came with one of the properties he was renovating, and from there, Huske House Brewing Company was born. The company earned $3 million in revenue alone last year, and Collins said the business continues to grow in several ways.

“I’m needing a bigger warehouse, and that’s an exciting growth,” Collins said. “I’m bringing (business) back to our local economy, and the growth is tangible.”

Kate Meeuf, NaVOBA’s brand manager, said the committee selected Collins as Vetrepreneur of the Year because of his leadership skills that resonate in both his local economy and among veterans across the country.

“The way (Collins) responded in changes from commercial real estate to his restaurant is what makes the business successful,” Meeuf said. “It’s inspiring, and also a testament to applying perseverance learned from the military to his business.”

Collins says he was startled when he learned he was the recipient of such a distinction, as nearly three million veterans own business in the United States. But he believes having a business downtown with other local veteran entrepreneurs has played a role in his success, and ultimately the Vetrepreneur of the Year award.

“We try to connect with all of our businesses, brothers and sisters that are around us,” Collins said. “We’re very collaborative in nature. We’ve joined forces with other restaurants and bars downtown, and I’m a leader in trying to get them together. It’s about connecting the businesses and connecting the customers, too.”