V2V Black Hops, a veteran-owned brewing company, is taking over the Axe and Barrel in Langford. Graeme Hafey, right, and brewmaster Duncan Blackman plan to reopen the space in mid-March with a lineup of eight beers on tap. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

V2V Black Hops, a veteran-owned brewing company, is taking over the Axe and Barrel in Langford. Graeme Hafey, right, and brewmaster Duncan Blackman plan to reopen the space in mid-March with a lineup of eight beers on tap. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Veteran-owned brewing company takes over recently closed Axe and Barrel

V2V Black Hops Brewing plans to open by mid-March with up to eight beers on tap

Something’s brewing over at the Axe and Barrel in Langford, which closed on Feb. 16 after five years in operation.

V2V Black Hops, a veteran-owned brewing company, has taken over the space. By mid-March, they’re planning to welcome customers to a small tasting lounge, an outdoor area, and a brewery they can call a second home.

“My body is telling me this is too much but it’s very exciting,” said Graeme Hafey, founder of V2V and veteran who has served in the Canadian Forces for 21 years. He was limited to small-batch contracting through Spinnakers Brewpub in Vic West.

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“We realized that we were plateauing and needed to find new opportunities for business. After working at this everyday for the past 20 months, it’s about time.”

Hafey ran V2V as a non-profit until now, donating all profits to PTSD and therapy programs for military and first responder veterans. The cause is close to his heart because he was diagnosed with PTSD in 2017.

The veteran served in the Middle East in areas such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Oman shortly after 9/11.

“We flew a machine gun, armed ourselves and searched for people smuggling arms and bad guys,” Hafey previously said in a comment to Black Press Media. “It was quite rewarding working with the coalition force.”

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Now, Hafey has set his sights higher by turning his business into a for-profit social venture.

The veteran still plans to donate a small percentage of profits from each drink towards PTSD programs, but the details have yet to be ironed out.

One thing that’s for sure is the legacy of Axe and Barrel won’t disappear – the Langford Lager will remain on tap and a few fan favourites will run in seasonal rotation.

“We’re going to have at least six beers ready to go,” says co-owner Duncan Blackman, former owner of Happy Homebrewers U-brew. The duo aims to open in mid-March and have eight beers on tap by their grand opening in April.

– with files from Shalu Mehta

aaron.guillen@

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