HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., Nov. 17, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- BJ's Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ:BJRI) today announced the launch of Buy a Hero a Beer SM , a program for our guests to honor the heroes among us, including first responders. "This new program is designed to engage the entire nation in recognizing the heroes in our country, in our communities, and in our personal lives," said Greg Trojan, President and CEO of BJ's Restaurants, Inc. "At a time when too many stories are focused on the negative, we want to spread positivity by allowing our guests to buy a beer for everyday heroes. These are the noble men and women who may not make headlines but who deserve a toast for their courage and kindness." Starting on November 17, guests over the age of 21 may contribute $6 toward a pint of BJ's craft beer (or BJ's handcrafted soda) for a hero at a BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse® nationwide. There are three ways to contribute: online at bjsrestaurants.com/hero, on the BJ's mobile app, or directly on their restaurant bill. The program will initially focus on first responders: the firefighters, police officers and EMTs who risk themselves for the sake of others, both in our communities and across the country. (Watch how the local community in Cypress Creek, Texas thanks a volunteer firefighter in this video.) Individuals who fall within the program's current hero designation can sign up online to reserve a beer. They will then receive a promo code to redeem their BJ's craft beer or handcrafted soda, which must be claimed within 48 hours. "The Buy a Hero a Beer initiative aims to raise awareness and, most importantly, enable our guests to thank our community heroes for the difficult job they do every day," said Kevin Mayer, EVP, Chief Marketing Officer of BJ's Restaurants, Inc. "Your contribution will make sure that a hero in your community has a cold beer waiting for them at their local BJ's. It's a small, but powerful, gesture that shows how much the everyday heroes in our communities are needed and appreciated." BJ's also makes it possible for guests to honor personal heroes by sending them a BJ's eGift card by visiting bjsrestaurants.com/hero. Whether it's a friend who helped you move in the rain or the crossing guard who keeps your kids safe, BJ's recognizes that heroes don't always wear uniforms. Visitors of bjsrestaurants.com/hero are also invited to take a pledge to honor the heroic people in our communities who may not get all of the recognition they deserve—those who give their time to help others in big ways and small. "I'm confident that we can create a culture of gratitude and generosity with something as simple as a cold beer," said Trojan. "The stories of everyday heroes inspire me to make every moment count, and I hope they will inspire our guests as well. This is a personal priority not just as the President and CEO of BJ's, not just as a husband and a father, but as an American who believes that our country's greatness depends on how we honor each other."