In 2012, husband and wife team, Dave and Quynh Rathkamp, decided to swap their jobs as physicians to open Americas first 100% philanthropic brewery.
Meet the owners: Dave and Quynh
Dave “The Brewer”
I was born in San Antonio and lived there until graduating from high school. From there I went to Austin to major in Biology and minor in Chemistry. Then off to med school in Ft Worth. Next, I went to New Orleans for my internship and residency in Pediatrics. This is where I met the love of my life and future wife, Quynh. We dated for nearly 5 years until I wore her down and she agreed to marry me. We lived in the Dallas area working as physicians, me in Pediatrics and Quynh in Internal Medicine AND Pediatrics. We enjoyed life together with our friends, family, and church.
We would yearly go on a mission trip, often to impoverished areas with limited medical care. I would then return to seeing patients in the US with their first world problems realizing that I wasn’t really making much of a difference. If I stopped seeing patients, they would just see someone else and life would just go on and it was at this time I lost my passion and interest in the practice of medicine.
It was about this same time that our mens pastor was talking about pursuing your passion and that God has created each one of us with certain skills, talents, and interests and you should use them to advance his kingdom. How do you meet the worlds greatest needs with your greatest passion? I thought seriously about how I liked to spend my free time, what I would read about, what I loved to talk about, what things would make me lose track of time because I was so enjoying the moment. The answer was making beer; and somehow God was going to use this?
I’d been brewing for nearly 15 years and loved the science, experimentation, anticipation, and creativity that it involved. Now to get Quynhs involvement. Thankfully I have a wife that is a great combination of supportive and enthusiastic, so she loved the idea and began to add her own thoughts. Quynh had always wanted to retire and work at a nonprofit, so we thought why not make our brewery a nonprofit?
Well, we began to realize a couple of things. One, a business cannot be a nonprofit. Strange, that if you make money and give it away you don’t receive the same tax breaks that you do if you are given money and then you give a portion of that money away, I digress. Secondly, it seems there are already plenty of great nonprofits out there doing fantastic work and truly helping people in need, and the problem is not that there are not enough nonprofits out there but there just isn’t enough money going to them. It’s been said that the root of all evil is the love of money. So, how do you combat the love of money?
You simply give it away. I know it’s a crazy idea, but what if businesses gave all their proceeds to charity instead of stock holders or overpaid executives? I have a few ideas: poverty would be gone, starvation would be eliminated, curable diseases would be cured, and areas that have only known war would enjoy peace. I know it’s a crazy idea, but as Victor Hugo said, “all the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.” I think it’s time to Save The World!
Quynh “The Boss”
I am definitely the dark horse in this story. After all, how does an immigrant from Vietnam grow up to be a physician only to leave that and retire as co-owner of a philanthropic microbrewery? The answer is: purely by the grace of God.
When I was six years old, my family and I were “boat people” fleeing Vietnam to the US, and thankfully we were sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church of Texarkana, Arkansas. I went on to study biomedical engineering at Harvard, and then medical school and residency at Tulane where I met my charming Renaissance man. He wooed me to Texas where I have had the joy of practicing medicine with a great group of physicians in the DFW metroplex.
So now to our grand adventure with the brewery. I was a wine lover originally, but when Dave started homebrewing and plied me with his brews, I turned to the “dark (malt) side” and became an avid beer lover. Since then, I have thrown myself wholeheartedly into learning about and tasting all sorts of beers, and strangely enough, my favorites are the Belgian styles also. In fact, I am now a certified cicerone – just trying to keep up with my husband.
So when he shared his dream of the microbrewery with me, I enthusiastically and immediately jumped on board. While Dave’s passion is making great beer, mine has always been to serve, help and give especially to those more in need. Although I have had the honor of serving many sweet patients as a physician, I confess that I have often been distracted by the business and income aspect of the profession. So what better way to get rid of that distraction than to start a business whose mission is to give all the profits away. Some may call this crazy, but we call it living life to the fullest.