For brewery owners Stephen Gregorig and Jamie Overgaard, giving back is an important part of their business.
Honour House is a home away from home where soldiers, veterans, first responders, and their families can stay for free when they are in the Lower Mainland getting medical care and treatment.
Overgaard, a teacher at Cloverdale’s Lord Tweedsmuir high school, first came up with the idea to support Honour House when he was chatting with his long-time buddy, and Canadian military veteran, Trevor Greene.
Both Overgaard and Gregorig have been friends with Greene for decades as the trio met paying rugby at the Vancouver Rowing Club. In 2006, Greene suffered a severe brain injury after being attacked with an axe while serving in Afghanistan.
“The idea started before Honour House was even around,” remembered Overgaard. “Being friends with Trevor for so long, we thought it would be great to give back. We wanted to support something that was close to his heart and was also a good cause.”
When brewing a beer for charity finally became a reality, Overgaard approached Greene. Without hesitation, Greene said they had to support Honour House.
“(Greene’s) task force [in Afghanistan] was called Orion,” explained Overgaard. “Trevor’s group was call-signed Orion 1-1 and those were the first words over the radio when Trevor was injured.”
Gregorig said when he and Overgaard started Smugglers’ Trail, the plan for a beer in honour of Greene and the plan to donate funds to charity in his name were already in place.
“We knew we wanted to give back and we knew exactly how that would look.”
In terms of the beer, Greene picked the style.
“Yes, it was an IPA, but we wanted to do something different. So we came up with the idea of a poppyseed IPA.”
Gregorig insists the ability to raise awareness for Honour House and the work they do is just as important as providing a little financial support.
“We just want to help and giving back this way, we feel, is important. It’s a tip of the cap.”
Allan De Genova, founder and president of Honour House, said he’s overwhelmed by Overgaard’s and Gregorig’s support.
“When someone buys one of these beers, not only are they helping the cause, because part of the donation comes to Honour House, which is very kind of Smugglers’ Trail, but it’s also about the message on the can of beer.”
That message, De Genova said, is about how Honour House is a vital resource for families in need. And De Genova hopes it will inspire others to get involved, volunteer, or just spread the word.
“Money is obviously helpful; it keeps the doors open. But raising awareness is the most important.”
De Genova also said he’s expanding his Honour House outreach.
“Honour Ranch is there for them too, unconditionally, to see that they, and their families, are looked after.”
Honour Ranch is located in Ashcroft on 120 acres and has 10 cottages and a main lodge. De Genova said Honour Ranch hasn’t opened yet because of the pandemic. Right now he’s hoping it will be open by September.
“Honour Ranch will be a place to get treatment for PTSD. It’s there for the psychological injury. If we get the message out to one person, and we can save just one life, that is everything.”
De Genova also has a connection to Greene. It was Greene’s story, and his family’s plight during Greene’s long recovery, that inspired him to found Honour House.
Gregorig and Overgaard plan to release more beer to support Honour House in the future. “This is the first beer in the series,” noted Overgaard.
Each of the beers that follow will have a first-responders theme. Gregorig said the next one will be released in June.
“It will likely be in support of fire services,” he added. “Eventually we’d like to make the Honour House series a quarterly release.”
Gregorig said Orion 1-1 can be found in private liquor stores throughout B.C.
Smugglers’ Trail has been brewing since 2017, but only opened their brewery and taproom on the Port Kells/Walnut Grove border in October 2020. They are located at 9339 200A Street. For more info, visit smugglerstrailcask.com.