Bullets2Bandages’ New Craft Beer Products
It’s been a few years since we last checked in on an amazing San Diego craft beer-centric business with a noble cause, Bullets2Bandages.
If you’re not familiar with the company, they’re a local veteran owned business that specializes in upcycling spent military ammunition into bottle openers. All the while, donating 15% of their profits to assorted veteran charities.
With Bullets2Bandages rolling out several new libation related products, it was a great time to see what they’ve been up to. We got to interview co-owner Eric Montgomery about these new product lines, and of course his latest personal beer trends.
Bullets2Bandages Products in Action
Q and A with Eric Montgomery
It looks like you have expanded your product line with several new beverage items. Could you tell us more about your six shooter shot glasses?
We started having the Six Shooter Shot Glasses made about a year and a half ago and they quickly became a close second to our .50 Caliber Bottle Openers in terms of sales numbers and popularity with our customers. They’re modeled after a Colt Revolver cylinder and made to last from heavy CNC-machined aluminum with an anodized coating. Like the bottle openers they’re available with custom engraving and with price breaks when you order 4+ pairs.
We’ll be releasing upsized versions of them in the next month or two — 10oz for whiskey drinkers (or half-pours) and 16oz for pints — so if you want to see more about pre-ordering them we’re making a limited number of them available at discounts off what their normal retail price will be.
In other new product news, a few days ago we got notification that our design patent application had been filed with USPTO so we went live with our .50 Caliber Coasters which you can see on our website. They’re modeled after the headstamps on a .50 caliber casing — like we cut off the ass-end of one of our bottle openers then made it about 4 times larger so they’re now 3.5″ diameter coasters that are pretty hefty at about 7oz each. We’ve got them available in sets of 4 and they can be customized with engraving on the reverse.
You’re also just partnered up with another veteran owned business, Trident Coffee. What products are you manufacturing for them?
We got in touch with Trident Coffee after a friend of mine bumped into one of their owners at Coronado Brewing and found out that (like me and our other owners) their owners are US Naval Academy grads. They’re also based in San Diego and do all their roasting and packaging here in town and will be opening a shop in Imperial Beach within the next month or so. So we put together a few gift bundles that combine either their bagged coffee or nitro cold brew cans with some of the tumblers and mugs that we have on hand for other products but engrave with the Trident logo in this case, and we also offer a Trident .50 Cal Bottle Opener as an optional upgrade for those bundles. The cool thing about them being local is that they can roast and bag/can their coffee on-demand for us whenever we’ve received orders, so that means we’re shipping out their coffee when it’s only a day or two old.
What charities are you currently working with, and what percentages of proceeds do you donate from sales?
Since starting in 2011 we’ve donated at least 15% of our annual profits to veteran charities, and in several years our donations have exceeded 50% of our annual profits. Our main efforts recently have been with the MARSOC Foundation and the Travis Manion Foundation, both of which we’ve worked with for 4+ years.
What are your bestselling products?
Our .50 Caliber Bottle Openers continue to be our best-selling products on both the wholesale and retail sides, particularly because we’re able to do in-house custom laser engraving with very quick turnarounds and at pretty reasonable prices. Over the last year or two we’ve focused very specifically on targeting the market for groomsmen gifts and they’ve been very popular in that regard, as well as in our wholesale accounts like breweries and military exchanges. Being able to put names, dates, etc. on the bottle openers and personalized gift boxes is a big selling point for the bottle openers as gift for weddings, promotions, retirements, graduations, birthdays, and so forth, and with most of our wholesale accounts we’re engraving their company name/logo on there as well so they have more products to sell alongside their normal branded stuff like t-shirts and pint glasses.
We also do a lot of business every fall in the run-up to the Marine Corps Birthday on November 10. Nearly every battalion, squadron, recruiting station, etc. in the Marine Corps hosts a Birthday Ball each November for all its Marines, Sailors, and guests, and since a .50 Caliber Bottle Opener engraved with the unit’s name is a much more appealing option for 1,000+ guests than the boring default gifts like pint glasses we’re able to line up some big sales for those events.
And then there’s our Six Shooter Shot Glasses, which as I mentioned above have nearly caught up to our bottle openers in terms of sales volume. We sell most shot glasses in our standard pair packs, and we also offer them in bundles of 4 glasses with a wood gift box.
You make tap handles out of 30mm casings. What weapon shoots those huge rounds? Have many breweries adopted them in their tasting rooms?
Our 30mm tap handles are made from casings fired by the A-10 Warthog or AH-64 Apache. The live versions of those rounds are designed as tank-killers with depleted uranium projectiles but since ours all come from stateside training ranges they contained inert (i.e. non-radioactive) projectiles. We sell the 30mm tap handles to Dos Desperados Brewing in San Marcos as well as to a few out of state breweries — Guns&Oil in Texas, Grand Armory in Michigan, Frog Level in North Carolina, and the Officers Club at West Point.
We can’t end the interview without asking you a few beer questions! What are your favorite local spots these days?
Unfortunately with a 1yr old and a 3yr old at home my time and energy for visiting new spots has been pretty limited lately. Living in Lemon Grove I’m in a beer wasteland but Helix Brewing and The Craft Kitchen aren’t too far away in La Mesa and are always worth a visit, and Hoffer’s Cigar Bar in downtown La Mesa is a place that flies way under the radar but always has a solid tap list and happy hour specials.
Groundswell’s original location in Grantville (formerly their brewing facility, now a taproom since they’re brewing in Santee) is a regular stop for me since they’re about 1/2 mile from our office and it’s easy to drop in for a pint at lunch after picking up a burrito on the way. Pariah in North Park is a new spot that I checked out a few months back and they had a cool theme and some interesting stuff on tap and friendly staff — will be back there next chance I get. Two weeks ago I found myself stuck driving home from Camp Pendleton so rather than sit for an hour in 5pm traffic I pulled off the 5 to check out Burgeon Beer in Carlsbad and really enjoyed the feel of their tasting room as well as their assortment of hazy IPAs and pale ales.
What beers have caught your attention recently, in either our local market or through trades?
I continue to be a huge homer for pretty much any IPA that Modern Times puts out — their standard ones like Booming Rollers as well as their monthly special releases. I’ve had a few cans of Luna Park and am pretty sure it’s my favorite one of their IPA releases so far, with Dinosaur World getting a slight edge as my favorite overall with it being a double IPA. I try not to ever miss Stone’s Enjoy By offerings, and particularly like the ones that are a little different than their standard double IPAs…unfiltered, black, tangerine, etc.
A few months back I scored a nice assortment of Tree House and Trillium IPAs and pale ales in one beer trade and some Other Half IPAs in another trade, and I’m pretty sure if I lived in either Boston or NY I’d be spending as much money at those breweries as I currently do with Modern Times and Stone.