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Michael & Kerrie Stacks - Bold Mariner Brewing

"Never Give Up the Ship"

Michael and Kerrie Stacks first contacted the Old Dominion University Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) in November of 2013. Michael, a third-generation U.S. Navy Veteran, wanted to start a micro-brewery as an homage to his father and grandfather, both home beer brewers. Cherylynn Sagester, Director of VBOC, took the lead and worked with them as they developed their Business Plan and Financials. Finally, in November 2015, Bold Mariner opened their doors and have created an extremely successful micro-brewery with a huge following. Their signature beer, Frogman was selected by the Virginia Governor as the "brew of choice" for the Governor's Mansion. Bold Mariner moved to the Ocean View area of Norfolk in 2019 and have watched their brand grow. Hard work and perseverance have been the hallmark of Bold Mariner's success.

Michael and Kerri Stacks have built something much more than just a brewery... they have provided us as a community, an amazing story which tells of Michaels, Kerrie's and their team's strong desire to continue to not only survive this pandemic but to provide quality food, beer and the most important ingredient of all...their heartfelt support for their customers and the community as a whole. Thereby, their effort to secure the EIDL/Cares Act and the PPP, SBA lending programs, is their way of continuing to keep the "oar in the water", as they say!

- Cherylynn Sagester, Director, Veteran Business Outreach Center (VBOC), Old Dominion University

In September 2019 we finally got the doors open at our new Bold Mariner location. Business had never been better, and morale was at an all-time high. In mid-February after slowly watching Covid-19 make its way across the globe, it was concerning hearing the impact the virus was going to have on small businesses. We were entering uncharted waters. As restrictions were tightened and Governor Ralph Northam put in place the stay at home order, we immediately switched to survival mode. We canceled certain services, slowed down production, and ramped up sanitization. Staff was reduced to a minimum, and we opened up a to-go station outside to serve our patrons while following social distancing guidelines.

We are currently open 5 days a week for takeout and the delivery of beer and 'Bark-Q' BBQ. We are truly grateful for our wonderful community that continues to support us during this difficult time. Our canning machine has never worked harder; we have canned more varieties of beer than ever before. Our latest releases include 'Audace' which means bold in Italian. This beer was brewed in collaboration with Italian Army General Paolo Ruggiero, who serves Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (DSACT) at NATO's ACT headquarters in Norfolk. It was created in celebration of this year's NATO Festival which was canceled due to the pandemic; however, we felt it was important to still mark the occasion in the one way we knew possible. Another big hit has been 'Deemed Essential' a double white IPA. Each day we are faced with new unknowns and challenges. The longer our taproom doors remain shut the harder it will be. After hearing about the new PPP and EIDL loans that were coming available via the SBA we immediately applied through Fulton Bank. We hope to obtain funding in the coming weeks and as a result, will be able to bring back our staff and remain operational. At Bold Mariner, we are determined to stay innovative and adapt to the current situation. Even so, without opportunities such as these many small businesses, ours included, would not be able to stay afloat.

"We felt it was important to keep up the spirit of the tradition we have with NATO. Even though the festival will not be happening this year, we still want to do what we can to give everybody a little something of the normality we had before"

- Michael Stacks, Bold Mariner Brewing

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