Jeff is the proud founder and owner of Patriarch Distillers. He has been working in the liquor wholesale industry since 1999. He has always had a palate for whiskey and bourbon and he wanted to learn more about the fermentation and distillation processes that were used to make them. In 2002, Jeff began experimenting with distilling, making his own whiskey and bourbon and storing it away.
It was not until 2011 that Jeff finally brought his dreams to fruition. He came up with the idea of using a canteen bottle, did some research, hired an attorney, and found that both the patent and trademark for the bottle were available. A veteran himself with strong military ties in his family, Jeff felt that the canteen was a natural fit, an iconic symbol that everyone could recognize.
Jeff named his product Soldier Valley after his father’s hometown in Iowa. The brand name serves to bring together both the farming and military histories of his ancestors. Through his business, Jeff enjoys being able to give back to the community and support his fellow veterans.
Director of Sales and Marketing
Rich has been on board with Patriarch Distillers since the very beginning. He earned his Bachelor of Science in marketing and management from Bellevue University and has a wide range of military experience in strategic planning and Lean Six Sigma. He and Jeff spent time together while participating on an airborne demonstration team.
When Jeff first called him thirteen years ago to say that he had a great idea, Rich told him that he had to pursue it. A 24-year Army veteran, Rich was still in the service at that time. While he could not help Jeff then, he promised that he would be 100% on board when he was finished with the Army.
Rich knew from the beginning that the canteen bottle had traction. He understood that Jeff was in need of someone to handle marketing and sales and to be a promoter once the product took off. After retiring from the Army and working for another company for several years, Rich quit his job to join Jeff, fully believing in what was happening at Patriarch. To this day, Rich has most enjoyed being able to build the Soldier Valley Spirits brand.
Director of Operations
Shannon has been with Patriarch Distillers since day one. She attended Wayne State College for four years before graduating from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a Bachelor of Science in Speech Communications and Mass Communications.
Shannon has worked in the liquor industry for over 20 years and has known the founder, Jeff Hadden, for just as long. When Jeff first came to her with the idea for the canteen bottle, she told him he had to do it. After repeatedly being asked by Jeff to come on board with the operation, she was finally convinced.
As the Director of Operations, Shannon oversees Patriarch’s accounts, manages payroll, computes the monthly and quarterly taxes, schedules music, hires and trains new employees, updates the website, and helps design new merchandise. She is also the human resources manager and is in charge of the tasting room and the tour schedule at Patriarch. Shannon’s favorite aspect of working at Patriarch Distillers is the people, as she enjoys talking to both the employees and the customers.
Director of Communications
Michelle has known Jeff Hadden for five years, ever since their sons became friends on the soccer field. She earned her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and spent 10 years working in broadcasting in southern California and Texas.
Michelle began working at Patriarch by bottling the products, but quickly evolved and expanded her role. As the Director of Communications, she now helps manage the company’s website and social media platforms, answers phone calls and emails, helps organize finances, books events, continues to bottle, and helps out wherever else she can.
Cassandra has worked at Patriarch Distillers as a bottler for more than four years. She is double majoring in journalism and broadcasting at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is set to graduate in May of 2021. Prior to college, she spent two years working as the high school correspondent for the Gretna Guide and News, a weekly newspaper.
At Patriarch, Cassandra keeps busy as she updates the company website, bartends, gives tours, and helps manage the social media accounts. She continues to bottle while also taking on any miscellaneous tasks around the distillery.
Tony has spent the past several years bottling at Patriarch Distillers. He maintains strong family ties to the distillery as Rich Hagedorn’s brother-in-law. He spent a year a the University of Nebraska Omaha before deciding to transfer to Metropolitan Community College in Omaha to pursue a career in firefighting.
In his role, Tony takes on a wide variety of jobs. He assists Jeff with the distilling process and helps keep the distillery clean and in order, works with Shannon in the office, and continues to help bottle whenever needed.
Darrel is the most recent member of the Patriarch team, joining in November of 2017. He spent 21 years serving in both the Air Force and the Air Force Reserve. After retiring from active duty, Darrel supported the Strategic Air Command as a contractor. He became involved with Patriarch after overhearing at the bar that the distillery needed someone to give tours. He left his name and number and got the job.
Darrel currently leads tours and spends time working as a bartender and bar back. As someone who brews his own beer, Darrel has always been interested in the distilling process and is currently learning the distilling craft and plans to continue to grow his skills and knowledge in support of the Patriarch mission.