For eight years, Logan Bonney served at Hancock Field, working as a sensor operator and mobilizing during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Freedom Sentinel. “Serving in the Guard was such a unique opportunity,” says Bonney. “I was on active duty, but in Syracuse. So while I never left the base, I was controlling planes in the Middle East—actively a part of the nation’s fight supporting troops on the ground.”
As he served, he worked on his degrees—first a bachelor’s in business administration at Columbia College and then he applied to the Whitman School. As a military service member, his application to Syracuse was streamlined, and he began working on his master’s in entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises just weeks after applying.
In his courses at Whitman, Bonney conducted guided market research and soon found an opportunity in the growing craft beer space. “We learned that 40 percent of people drink beer most often. But interestingly, almost half of that percentage would prefer to drink something else,” he says “As I dug deeper, I found that drinking is often a social experience, and a good portion of people have a drink in their hands just to fit in—many weren’t really enjoying it.”
His solution was coming up with a grain-free beer alternative from local fruits and vegetables with the same alcohol percentage as craft beer cleverly named Anything But Beer.
In November 2017, Bonney went through the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV), offered by Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF.) He elected the program offered at Cornell University, where they specialize in food, beverage and hospitality.
“EBV was so helpful in keeping us focused and disciplined,” he says. “We really honed our story and process through EBV to the point where we were ready to take the next big step just a few weeks after completing the program.”
Two years later, now that Anything But Beer is getting ready to open its first taproom this summer, Bonney attended another IVMF resource to help him prepare.
“In February 2019, I attended IVMF’s Veteran EDGE conference, which is for growing veteran-owned businesses,” he says. “As you get into the grind, it’s easy to lose sight of certain things. The IVMF programs have been a great asset to staying on track and focused. Meeting the people there and staying connected with the guardsmen and the network at Syracuse University has been so helpful. Everyone has potential. I am lucky that my military leaders and those I met at Syracuse have helped me unlock mine.”