Iowa companies join in support of USS Iowa SSN 797 christening

Big Grove Brewery has teamed up with Cookies Food Products and the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) in support of the USS Iowa SSN 797 christening, a soon-to-be commissioned nuclear submarine for the U.S. Navy.

While this vessel will be the fourth Navy ship named after the state of Iowa, the SSN 797 will be the first submarine to bear the state’s name and the first to have dedicated quarters for women and men.

Beginning Memorial Day weekend through the Fourth of July, Iowans will find “Iowa’s Backyard Beer & BBQ” displays in stores across the state. All three companies will be providing support, or contributing a portion of sales through the Backyard BBQ program, to the SSN 797 Commissioning Committee. Big Grove donated $5,000 to the effort from proceeds of beer sales last summer and invited Cookies and IPPA to help kick-off summer Iowa-style in an effort to raise greater awareness.

“It’s a privilege to partner with these great Iowa companies in support of a vessel that honors our great state and as a Navy veteran, I find this collaborative effort especially meaningful,” said Speed Herrig, president of Cookies Food Products, in a news release.

“We’re grateful to have support from Iowa-based organizations like these. It’s exciting to help us show what Iowa is all about to the 130 dedicated service men and women and their families,” said Tom Hudson, a Navy retired chief petty officer and serves as one of the executive directors of the committee.

The Iowa-based Commissioning Committee has set a fundraising goal of $500,000 for upgraded features to ship habitability recreation and dining equipment. Remaining funds will be used for crew activities and celebration events featuring Iowa products. The Christening is scheduled for June 17 in Groton, Connecticut, known as the Submarine Capital of the World.

Big Grove team members will be traveling to the christening to help serve Rack Stowed Cream Ale, a collaboration beer brewed between Groton-based Outer Light Brewing and Big Grove. The beer name, a nod to submarine life, was named by the incoming crew and will be available at christening events and the Outer Light taproom.

In support of the commissioning, Big Grove plans to host event watch parties.