Cherokee Office of Economic Development · Cherokee by Choice.

Cherokee Based Land of the Brave Documentary Celebrates Veteran-Owned Businesses

November 10, 2023

Cherokee resident Steven Le Noir has set out to highlight and honor veteran-owned businesses with his documentary project Land of the Brave – filmed here in Cherokee County.

“We want to highlight businesses that don’t get the recognition they deserve,” said Le Noir.

Land of the Brave will feature three veteran-owned businesses, two of which are right here in Cherokee County: Barrel House Coffee Company in Ball Ground and Semper Fi Bar and Grille, soon to be Rally Point Bar and Grille, in Woodstock. The film will also feature Backpaddle Brewing Company in Lincolnton, GA.

The documentary gives a behind-the-scenes look at these veteran-owned businesses – what they do, who they are and how they do it. The hosts will tour businesses, get to know the owners and get in on some of the fun.

“[At Barrel House Coffee Company] we already have a plan that the guys are going to come and roll barrels. They’re going to top them and fill them and everything, like they’re going to the warehouse,” said Le Noir. “They’re going to learn the whole process of it.”

The hosts of Land of the Brave are also veteran entrepreneurs that will offer support and knowledge to their peers. “Nick Palmisciano, he is the epitome of a successful veteran entrepreneur, and he has agreed to come on as a host,” said Le Noir. “He will be able to come in and talk to these people and give them so many ideas, so many strategies – not because they’re doing anything wrong, but to give them more opportunities to grow.”

Mostly, though, they’re trying to tell veteran stories. “When we do Semper Fi Bar and Grille, we’re actually going to bring veterans in that have either had an impact at Semper Fi, or have been impacted by them,” said Le Noir, “Part of the filming is going to have a roundtable format, talking and sharing stories – breaking bread together and talking about what our service has meant to all of us.”

Le Noir doesn’t want to stop with Cherokee. “My goal is that the initial documentary is essentially a teaser. I’d love to turn it into a show, similar to Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe – but it’s all veteran-owned businesses,” said Le Noir.

His dream is to travel the country and highlight veteran startups. “I know veterans that live here in Georgia, but their business is guiding elk and deer hunts in Colorado…we’re talking to one business whose job is a crane rental company,” said Le Noir. “We want to show all of the different fields and all the different types of jobs that these veterans have created for themselves.”

Le Noir will start his nationwide mission with a podcast. “We are going to be taking our kids on a road trip to every national park in the country over the next year,” said Le Noir. “While we’re doing it, we’re going to be travelling and essentially interviewing other veteran-owned business owners all over the country.”

This passion project is born from Le Noir’s own service. “I enlisted in 2008 straight out of high school. I actually skipped school on my eighteenth birthday…my recruiter drove me down to MEPS, which is where you sign your contract. It was the height of the surge in Iraq. I had an idea, but I didn’t truly know what I was getting into,” said Le Noir.

Veteran, entrepreneur, rancher and now filmmaker, Le Noir is happy to be raising his family here in Cherokee, but he also is glad to be working here. “It’s been really awesome; it’s been great and easy to film here in Cherokee,” said Le Noir. “No one, at any level, has given us any roadblocks. It’s been the opposite. They want to move those roadblocks out of the way for us.”

After ending his service, Le Noir found it hard for veterans to break into the job market. Young veterans are 3.4% more likely to be unemployed than their non-veteran peers in a similar situation. “That’s why so many veterans become entrepreneurs – it’s harder for them to get their foot in the door, so they do it themselves,” said Le Noir. “They’re good at it, too. There are so many successful veteran entrepreneurs and startups nationwide.”

Le Noir is one of many success stories. “We live in the most amazing country in the world. There’s nowhere else you can go from living in a camper in your mom’s driveway to living in a nice house here in Ball Ground with your family,” said Le Noir. “I’ve had multiple successful businesses…and it was all based off ‘I’ll figure it out, and I’ll get it done,’ It only fired me up when people didn’t think I could.”

Le Noir fell into filmmaking after his service, “Right after I left my job at Google, I started a marketing company in the outdoor industry,” said Le Noir. “The way I got into [filmmaking] was I bought a $50 handicam from Walmart one day on my way to put a food plot in. I set it up on a tripod and filmed myself going through and clearing the field and it just grew from there.”

Le Noir later pursued a film degree at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Atlanta. At SCAD, Le Noir picked up most of his Land of the Brave crew in class. “These are people who were juniors and seniors and have already interned on actual major projects or worked in the industry,” said Le Noir.

The crew even includes other Cherokee residents. “I’ve got a guy that lives here in Ball Ground. He’s a professor at one of the music institutes in downtown Atlanta; he’s already come on and agreed to do all the audio work and everything,” said Le Noir.

Outside the classroom, Le Noir is a believer in doing. “Most things have been trial and error…My wife hates it, but that’s the number one thing I say – ‘We’ll figure it out,’” said Le Noir.

For Land of the Brave, Le Noir combines his schooling with his tried-and-true ways, “It’s funny because I would be sitting in class and I would think, ‘Oh, I know how to do that, but that’s what it’s called?”

Le Noir is working hard to represent the veteran community in a positive light. “It’s going to take months to get through the audio and color grading and everything,” said Le Noir. “We’re trying to get it right to truly bring the veteran community’s best foot forward to the public.”

His ultimate goal though is to encourage other veterans to pursue their goals. “My big hope from this is to show veterans like me all over the country, don’t feel lost and alone,” said Le Noir. “If you want to do something, if you have a dream, there’s already a community of veterans that will talk to you, they’ll give you advice and they will help you with anything you need.”

Veteran’s Day is a time for reflection and celebration of our nation’s heroes. “For me, Veteran’s Day is a remembrance of everybody that I’ve served with. I made friends all over this country that I still talk to. But it’s also a very, very difficult day, too,” said Le Noir. “I’m proud of my service. I’m proud of the people I’ve met and that I know I can still call friends to this day.”

What can you do to honor veterans this Veteran’s Day? Le Noir says supporting veteran-owned businesses makes a huge impact. “I just ask that people continue to support veteran-owned businesses,” said Le Noir. “Take Barrel House Coffee from the film, the local support has been phenomenal. Everybody loves it here; everybody loves the atmosphere. Ryan and Katie and their staff put the work in, and it shows.”

Le Noir also hopes that there will be continued support for Land of the Brave and its mission. “As a veteran myself, it’s very easy to feel like the majority of people are apathetic about anything going on in the veteran community,” said Le Noir. “Anytime we get support from people outside of the veteran community, it’s massive because it brings life back into the whole thing.”

Stay up to date with Land of the Brave and Le Noir’s veteran-travel podcast at and on Facebook and be sure to share. “I hope everybody supports us on social media and spreads the message about it,” said Le Noir. “We make up such a small percentage of the population, and we just want to share the happy stories, the good stories and the hard work.”

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