The USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) floated out of dry dock on 11 October and will commission at Newport News on 9 November. Founders Brewery of Grand Rapids, MI (US Navy veteran Ford represented the Congressional district from 1949 to 1973) will be sending 40 cases of beer with special commemorative labels to the commissioning ceremony.
Founders creates special label beer for USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier christening
GRAND RAPIDS, MI — When the nation’s newest aircraft carrier is christened this weekend, Founders Brewing Co. will be there.
The Grand Rapids brewery is shipping about 40 cases of a special label edition beer to Newport News, Va., for private consumption at the ceremony for the christening of the USS Gerald R. Ford on Saturday, Nov. 9.
The beer, the same dry-hopped pale ale Founders has been brewing for years, has essentially received a packaging makeover for the christening ceremonies.
Dave Engbers, Founders vice president and co-founder, said it’s always been company policy not to do special contract brews, but this situation is unique.
“When the government calls and they have a contract like this honoring your hometown president… it wasn’t a long conversation at Founders,” he said. “We’re like, ‘absolutely, we’ll do it.’”
The aircraft carrier, (CVN-78), was named for Gerald R. Ford based on the 38th president’s service aboard the light carrier Monterey in the Pacific Theater during World War II. A first-in-class carrier, it replaces the USS Enterprise.
On Saturday, Ford’s daughter, Susan Ford Bales, will break a bottle of sparkling wine over the ship’s bow. The hull then will be released from dry dock and set afloat.
Engbers said the brewery was contacted by the Newport News Shipbuilding team this summer about the special label beer. The beer will be served at a private party on Friday night, and Engbers said the ship building team wanted to make sure there were enough bottles for everyone to take home.
The pale ale will be served on draft with a commemorative postcard at several locations in Newport News this week.
The carrier team visited the brewery and asked specifically for the pale ale, he said.
“It’s an honor for us to be included,” said Engbers.