Pigeon River Brewing Company officially began in 2012. Nate Knaack had experimented with brewing beer at his childhood home along the Pigeon River and as the president of the Brew Club at UW-Platteville. After graduating college, Nathan and Kayla both began careers in the agricultural industry, but the dream of owning a brewery was growing. So when a local hole-in-the-wall restaurant went up for sale, the now newlyweds spent their wedding money on the down payment for the building. They planned to live in the on-premise apartment until the time was right to convert the building into a brewery.
A couple weeks later, O’so Brewing out of Plover contacted Nate. They were expanding and looking to sell their original brew system, a 5-barrel “frankensystem” that had been custom-built from dairy equipment back in the 1980’s as part of Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee.
Now, Marion would not be an obvious choice for a town to start a business in, but Nate and Kayla believed in the concept. The couple had spent a semester abroad in Germany and were inspired by the small breweries in even the most rural of towns. They knew that over time, Marion, too could come to love full flavored beer.
After spending nearly a year worth of elbow grease getting the brewery ready, Pigeon River Brewing Company was finally ready to open on July 18th, 2012, the feast day of St. Arnold of Metz, the patron saint of brewing. It was also the day that Nathan and Kayla found out they were expecting their first child.
As the Knaack family grew, so did the business. Before too long, that old hole-in-the-wall restaurant was busting at the seams and Nate and Kayla were in search for a new building to call home for the brewery.
Pigeon River moved to its current location at the corner of Highways 110 and 45 across from the Shell parking lot in 2016. The location features barn board and beam décor from a local farms, custom built booths and light fixtures, and twelve tap lines. The expansion also included a brand-new 10-barrel brew system built by Quality Tanks of Marshfield. Growth continued on the home front with five children in the brood. Growth has also continued in the new location, especially through partnering with Wisconsin Distributors which distributes Pigeon River beers throughout the Fox Valley. Pigeon River was named the eleventh fastest growing brewery in the country in 2018 and the fastest growing brewery in Wisconsin.
In 2021 Pigeon River officially welcomed Jim Mielke as a co-owner. Jim and Nate had worked together at Caroline Implement, a local John Deere dealership, and Jim, Nate and Kayla had become lifelong friends over the years. Jim serves as CFO and IT, Kayla serves as CEO, and Nate serves as head brewer. Pigeon River Brewing Company continues to grow through expanded distribution and restaurant innovation.
We are grateful to all of the employees and community members who have helped contribute to the continued success of Pigeon River Brewing Company over the years.
As the years go on, we hope to continue to brew time-honored recipes as well as experiment with fun new styles.
Pigeon River Brewing Company: Down to earth beer for down to earth people!