How Cambodian Refugee Steven Yeng Built a Thriving Whiskey Brand

The first taste of peanut butter changed his life forever.

Successful founders and entrepreneurs are often asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. It’s a fairly simple question that is met with answers that range from “astronaut” to “firefighter,” but for most of Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey founder Steven Yeng’s childhood, he was simply focused on surviving.

Born in Cambodia, Yeng became a victim of polio at the young age one, leaving his left leg paralyzed. Without the ability to access quality healthcare in Cambodia, his parents made the tough decision to leave the country and move to Thailand, where they lived in a refugee camp for six years.

Yeng recalls eating practically nothing but bananas during this time—waiting in line in the sweltering tropical heat for water and food rations. But when Yeng was just seven years old, a rare miracle arrived in the form of sponsorship by a family in the United States, which brought Yeng and his family across the world to San Diego, California.

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