TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Allan Conger went from growing up on the south side of Tucson and Desert View High School to the U.S. Marine Corps.
“They tear you down, build you back up and you’re a Marine forever,” he said, recalling his experience. “It’s not a job, it’s a whole other life.”
Conger served fro 1994 to 2004, including time in Iraq. He then returned to Tucson, only to find it was a big adjustment “that’s hard for a lot of people to understand.”
“It’s hard to find a purpose a lot, for a lot of us,” he said. “Just that service and that drive and that camaraderie, all that stuff just kind of goes away.”
Conger did eventually find that purpose, earning a degree and then an MBA from the University of Arizona. He says it was during that time that he took a fermentation class with an enthusiastic professor.
After that, Conger began brewing at home. Over the years, he was able to craft that passion into a business.
Conger and his wife Alicia, also a Tucson native, opened 1912 Brewing Company on the city’s West Side in 2015. The name ‘1912’ is a reference to Arizona’s first year as a state.
“We like exploring the state, all the diversity in the state,” Conger said. “We’re kind of a blended family, a mixed family. So we intertwine that into everything we do… Obviously we’re heavy on veteran and first responder supporting, so that definitely comes from my background. But then just growing up here in Tucson, having that Latin aspect, my wife is Latina. We have that mixed family, we have those experiences with the different foods, different flavors.”
Conger says his brewery is known for unique flavors, like incorporating Mexican candy into a sour beer. The business has brewed more than 300 kinds of beers on-site since opening.
Customers can also buy a future pint for a veteran, active military member or first responder, who are offered a free drink.
Though ‘1912’ is not just a place for veterans to grab a drink. It also serves as a place of refuge and comfort for them.
The brewery hosts several events for veterans to either open up or just hang out.
“We’re really big on veteran suicide and suicide prevention… a lot of us have been affected by that,” Conger said. “We do a lot of events to kind of bring that in and get everybody together… Means a lot that we can help, or even if the other veterans that they’re talking to, if it’s not even us, that they can help. And they know that they have a place, they have a family, they have a community. That they can come in and they don’t have to feel weak.”
To learn more about 1912 Brewing Company and upcoming events for veterans, you can visit the brewery’s website.
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