Band of Brothers
Words by Sarah Pitts
Photos provided by Jenn Davis & Jennifer Frudaker
Band of Brothers, a new craft brewery in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is named for the fraternal bonds on which it is built. Brothers Jeremiah and Jeremy Donald, along with their partner Quintin Brown, believe that family is not just blood, but is built through overcoming adversity together. With steadfast resilience and courage, the three self-proclaimed brothers have worked tirelessly and relentlessly to turn an ink-and-paper abstraction into the fully-functioning brewery it is today.
Family is the driving force behind Band of Brothers, but it is more than just the brotherhood of the owners. The Donald brothers’ interest in fermentation came from their grandfather, Jimmie Lee James, who made wine in his home when they were young. The tradition of home-brewing was a part of the rural Alabama culture, and so it also became a part of their family legacy, integrated as they were in moonshining culture. As the brothers grew up and began to experiment with fermentation themselves, they realized an inherited passion.
Jeremiah is the brewmaster, the artist among the three brothers-by-bond. His fascination lies in the chemistry of the fermenting process, in experimenting with the manipulation of various elements to produce distinct flavor profiles. He draws inspiration from both Jeremy and Quintin, creating recipes from scratch, completely in his head. The flavors of his brews are Belgian-inspired yet unique. The brewery’s flagship beer, a Belgian Blonde called “Monk on the Radio,” is named for a local radio personality and personal friend of the brothers. This is a Belgian beer unlike the typical White, with delicate hops and the smallest hint of freshly cracked peppercorn that don’t overwhelm the smooth flavor.
Through the creation of its distinct brews, the brewery has established itself in the craft beer market and built an impressive amount of brand loyalty—all in under one year of business. But it is not only an excellent product that sets Band of Brothers apart; their unique ownership further distinguishes them from the rest of the American craft-brewing scene. They are a part of the small, but growing list of minority-owned breweries and even more so, black-owned breweries in the United States.
The public has caught onto the idea of brotherhood promoted by the Band of Brothers brand. Jeremiah, Jeremy, and Quintin are all public servants and former military who seek to create an atmosphere that promotes cohesion and community among a diverse and dedicated clientele. Craft brewing isn’t new to Tuscaloosa—Band of Brothers is the third brewery in the city—but this particular brewery has introduced a new taste and a new vision.
The start-up cost of a brewery isn’t cheap, but these three brothers working together—Jeremiah, the creative mind; Jeremy, the business mind; and Quintin, the keeper of the sanity—struck a balance to create a supportive environment driven by a shared determination. The three persevered through countless “no’s” that told them their vision wasn’t plausible, continuously refining their business plan until the exhaustive document allowed the brothers to get that one “yes” that made Band of Brothers Brewery a reality.
While Jeremiah has worked on the beers that provide the basis for the business, his brother Jeremy has poured a tremendous amount of effort into getting those beers into the competitive craft-beer market. Currently, the four main brews—Monk on the Radio Belgian Blonde, VooDoo Mild Ale, Station One Saison, and White Widow IPA—can be found on draft at restaurants and bars throughout Alabama. The next step is shelving the beer in grocery stores. Quintin, who handles financial matters, realized quickly that their new business was unable to afford a bottling machine. But rather than putting off the purchase or simply giving up, Jeremy responded with characteristic tenacity and designed and built his own bottling machine. These three brothers certainly haven’t been afraid to work, and to work hard.
Brotherhood for Jeremiah, Jeremy, and Quintin means trusting each other. It means camaraderie in the face of adversity. Through a tremendous amount of effort shared between the three partners, Band of Brothers Brewery Company continues a family’s tradition of fermentation to serve a local community and to build a family that transcends blood relation. Check for Band of Brothers bottles on shelves soon to partake in a Southern legacy.