Our STORY

At Pigeon River Brewing we believe beer is more than just a catalyst for drunkenness, but it need not be held on a pedestal as a rare delicacy. We subscribe to the philosophy that, “from man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world” ~ St. Arnold of Metz, Patron Saint of Brewers.  High-quality beer is a gift from God which should be enjoyed with our daily bread to nourish our bodies and souls and bring merriment to every day. Our mission is to provide our customers with outstanding beer to enjoy in jovial surroundings.

We carry out this mission by brewing beers based on time-honored recipes from around the world, using the highest quality grains, hops, and yeast, without compromise, encouraging patrons to seek beer which delights their tastes, warms their hearts, and stirs their souls…and then encouraging them to have another.

Nathan Knaack grew up along the shores of the Pigeon River in the rural Marion, Wisconsin. He spent much of his childhood trailing his beloved grandfather around the family dairy farm. At the end of a long day’s work the pair bonded over another Wisconsin standby—beer, sipped warm out of a melamine cup in the stone farmhouse basement.

Agriculture and beer became engrained in the growing boy. As a Sophomore in high school he and his friend “Bub,” who was also a neighbor along the Pigeon River, were looking at an agricultural magazine when they stumbled upon an article about hops. A light bulb went off. They should try making beer.

Nathan refined his passion for agriculture and beer throughout high school. He began working as a salesman at the local John Deere dealership and even met his future wife in the FFA. After completing an Associate’s Degree at the local technical college, Nathan pursued a degree in Agricultural Sales at UW-Platteville, a university which just so happened to have an active brew club and a brewery right in the student center. By his second year in the club Nathan worked his way up to President.

In 2010, Nathan and Kayla spent a semester abroad in Germany, where they were inspired by the local breweries in just about every small Bavarian town.

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 custom-built from dairy equipment back in the 1980’s.

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 Nathan and Kayla found out they were expecting their first child.

The family and the brewery grew side-by-side. That first child, a girl, was born March of 2013. In fall of 2013 Pigeon River added a full-service restaurant focusing on local pub fare. In December of 2014 they welcomed their second child, a boy. In 2014 Pigeon River started distributing. Soon it was clear that the business and the family had outgrown that old hole-in-the-wall restaurant.

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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 as the couple welcomed their third child, a boy in February 2016 and their fourth child, another boy, in March 2018. Growth has also continued in the new location, especially through partnering with a new distributor, Wisconsin Distributors and later Dean Distributing which collectively distribute Pigeon River beers throughout northeastern Wisconsin. Pigeon River was named the eleventh fastest growing brewery in the country in 2018 and the fastest growing brewery in Wisconsin. Nate and Kayla are grateful to all of the employees and community members who have helped contribute to the continued success of Pigeon River Brewing Company.

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