Great River Brewery – Business Expansion
332 E. 2nd Street
Total Investment: $53,381
Downtown Partnership Facade Grant: $11,681
Private Funds Leveraged: $41,881
Jobs Created: 3 additions in past year, more staff anticipated
Big changes are afoot at Davenport’s largest craft brewery. The most obvious is a new facelift and paint job for the formerly burnt-orange establishment that is now a combination of grays and charcoals with some color accents. But more improvements – inside, outside and even across the street – are coming as well.
With a little help from a Downtown Partnership facade improvement grant, the brewery owners are investing more than $50,000 to double the size of their tasting room and move their offices into the long-vacant old Oasis gas station building across Iowa Street. Dawn Lehnert, a brewery co-owner, said the abandoned gas and convenience station will also receive a nice facade update with new awnings, a porch and more greenspace, helping clean up one of the most visible entrances to downtown Davenport at the base of the Government bridge.
Lehnert said it’s been a year of growth for Great River. The brewery now sells its canned and keg beer in seven Midwest states, has added a full-time brewer and three hospitality staff members and will see production increase from 3,000 barrels in 2012 to more than 4,000 barrels in 2013. A capital investment in two larger brewing tanks this year helped fuel the growth, Lehnert said.
In addition to the Davenport expansion, the brewer’s partnership with Mississippi River Distilling in LeClaire is also underway. That project includes a 7,000 square foot expansion at the distillery and will feature more cask-aged brewing capacity and another tasting room where both the brewery’s offerings and the distillery’s spirits can be consumed.
Most of the work in Davenport – including moving the offices – will be complete by this fall, Lehnert said. The currently often-cramped tasting room will double in size when the wall separating the current offices from the bar and tables is taken out, making for a more comfortable and inviting room, she added.
Craft brewing is one of the fastest-growing industry segments in the United States, and Great River is among Iowa’s leaders. Lehnert said the company will continue to grow and expand and explore new markets and opportunities.