Joe Maddon’s Try Not To Suck German-style Lager is a Beer for the People

Apr. 30, 2019

Story by Paulina Cajigal
Photos by Annaleah De Masi

Joe Maddon’s Try Not To Suck German-style Lager tastes like “baseball and summertime.”

There are few things in life that are just as pure — or wholeheartedly American — as nine innings on a sunny day but when it comes to intentions, Try Not To Suck has that in its flavor profile too.

The summertime brew is a collaboration between Rags of Honor, Veteran Roasters, RnR Brews, Haymarket Brewing and Respect 90. The five have one common goal: help their communities survive and thrive.

For Rags of Honor, Veteran Roasters and RnR Brews, their community is their brothers and sisters in arms. On a single night, at least 37,800 U.S. military veterans experience homelessness.

So, Mark and Kip Doyle founded Rags of Honor, a screen-printing and apparel organization, to combat that number after Mark came back from Afghanistan a few years ago.

“I found when we started Rags of Honor, on top of the fact these veterans lost the camaraderie of being in the military, some of them lost everything else,” Mark said. “So, we try to build a safe space for them.

Rags of Honor produces apparel for vets made by vets. It has about 80 employees on its roster, all veterans. Veteran Roasters is a coffee roaster also founded by Kip and Mark, co-owned by Branden Marty, a Navy veteran with nine years of service under his belt. Together, they formed RnR Brews, a beer brewery.

With their trifecta of organizations, Branden, Kip and Mark are trying to give back a sense of dignity to those who served — not only by helping them get back on their feet but also by welcoming them back into the brotherhood.

“When veterans come back from service, they lose that sense of camaraderie and that’s when they become unwound,” Kip said. “That’s why we keep building and hiring more, so they never feel like they’re alone.”

The partnership with Respect 90 and the Maddon family came naturally. Joe and his wife Jaye established the foundation to help children and families “develop championship attitudes through sports, academics, and community involvement.” Their community involvement exposed Joe and Jaye to the homelessness in the neighborhoods they served.

“We want to help veterans and we want to help homeless people with Respect 90,” Mark said. “If you had to boil it down to the lowest common denominator, every time you buy a can of this beer, you're going to help somebody.”

Haymarket’s role in the philanthropic five’s alliance was one it’s held a few times. Throughout Brewmaster and co-founder Peter Crowley’s career, he’s always made it a point to use beer to bring people together and he had that front-of-mind when creating the recipe.

“I think people are going to be surprised at how refreshing and clean it is,” Peter said. “When you finish one, you want another one.”

The proceeds of Joe Maddon’s Try Not To Suck German-style Lager directly help veterans and disenfranchised communities.

Cracking open a can is a homerun — and a 21-gun salute.

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