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Aircraft maintenance Airmen navigating through entrepreneurship

Two Westover Airmen turned business partners operate their own nano-brewery in western Massachusetts.

Two Westover Airmen turned business partners operate their own nano-brewery in western Massachusetts.

WESTOVER AIR RESERVE BASE, Mass. --

Two Westover Airmen are working to put a small western Massachusetts town on the map of the increasingly popular craft beer scene.

What is now Arcpoint Brewing Company out of Belchertown, Massachusetts, started out as an idea between two co-workers with little business background.

Tech Sgt. Chris Peterson and Master Sgt. CJ Eldridge work together as full-time Air Reserve Technicians in the 439th Aerospace Maintenance Squadron. Peterson began home brewing three years ago, and about a year and a half ago, asked Eldridge if he wanted to help him take his hobby to the next level.

The wingmen turned business partners now operate a fully-licensed nano-brewery and sell multiple beers, including their flagship IPA: True North.

“The general theme of our brewery and the beer names are navigation, given our background in avionics,” Peterson said. Thus the names: Wanderer and Tail Winds.

Their Air Force careers not only inspired the name of the company, but have also strongly influenced their ability to start and grow their business.

“Throughout the world of navigation, arcs are commonly seen,” Peterson said. “Like using intersecting arcs to triangulate a position.”

Peterson and Eldridge said day-to-day brewing operations such as temperature indication and control, pressure control and control circuit repairs use the same skills they’ve gained overseeing the maintenance of complex aircraft systems.

“All of our beers are top-notch,” Eldridge said.

Their most recent business success came with the help of their early supporters, who raised $14,489 for their business kickstarter campaign in just 45 days, surpassing their goal of $13,500.

Peterson and Eldridge donated a portion of the money raised over their goal to the nonprofit veteran-organization, DV Farm, in New Hampshire.

Right now, their beer can be found at local restaurants, but they soon hope to bottle and sell it in local stores as well. Ultimately, the two hope to open a large micro-brewery in Belchertown.

According to their website, that will be made possible by organic growth, as well as calculated and responsible re-investment of their profits.

Peterson said they want to open their brewery in Belchertown because of how supportive the community has been. The two plan to continue to give back to the community in return, by donating spent grain to local farms, which can be used as animal feed, and by holding fundraisers for charitable organizations.