A brewing company in Essex Jct. has been named the 2018 Vermont Veteran-Owned Business of the Year. Kevin Jarvis and Shawn Trout, owners of 1st Republic Brewing Company, are being recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration for rapid growth, financial success and community involvement.

Trout is an Army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and Jarvis is a Vermont National Guardsman veteran who served in Iraq. Although the two are both from Vermont and served overseas at the same time, Jarvis and Trout did not meet until 2011 when they worked at the same company.

The two hit it off becoming friends and soon started homebrewing out of Jarvis’ garage in Fairfax, brewing 35-gallons a week. Today 1st Republic Brewing operates out of a 3,000 square-foot facility producing about 800 barrels of beer a year.

"When we first started thinking of starting a brewery our minds went in a million different directions, the ultimate goal was to make this a full time job which is has, so I’m very excited about that.  It’s been a huge learning experience, not only from the beer making side, but also on running a full-time operation, it has been a priceless experience so far,” Trout said in a news release.

As the company has grown, the owners have stayed true to their homebrewing roots as 1st Republic Brewing Company is also the state’s largest homebrew supply shop.  The company sells everything from hops and grains to kettles and burners. Customers can visit their store in Essex Junction or shop online at www.1strepublic-homebrew.com.

Active in the community, Jarvis and Trout contribute to the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital, Passion for Paws, the Travis Roy Foundation, a local wounded warrior integration organization and a local sports team.

"We’re a small business but we’re trying to make big, positive impacts within our community and state,” Trout said in a news release. "This dream of ours has only happened because of the great people in Essex Vermont and the surrounding area who stop by and enjoy a beer with us every day.  We love seeing everyone’s faces every day, and them enjoying our beer is what makes it all worth it.”

The owners of 1st Republic Brewing will be presented their award during the 2018 Vermont Small Business Awards Ceremony cohosted by Vermont Business Magazine in June. The ceremony is open to the public and registration will be available in May.

"Military service can translate very well to the private sector,” said Darcy Carter, SBA Vermont district director, in a news release. "Veterans were taught leadership, motivation and work ethic when they served. These qualities are necessary to be a successful entrepreneur.”

In addition to Jarvis and Trout, 1st Republic Brewing has two minority owners, David Jarvis and Mike Drake, who are also veterans.