The ECICOG Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) has had the opportunity to help businesses from all around our region. One of the more successful businesses to use our ECICOG RLF is the Kalona Brewing Company, a brewery and restaurant built in a remodeled farm-machinery showroom in downtown Kalona.
In 2013, the Kalona Brewing Company applied for and received funding from our ECICOG RLF in order to fund the machinery and equipment to help get the brewery up and running. Three years later the brewery has been extremely successful.
The Kalona Brewing Company applied to the ECICOG RLF in hopes of creating six jobs. In just a few years, they have already expanded their staff by over five times that original goal, which includes a handful of additional jobs from this past year. Additionally, they had planned on having a brewery and tap room with limited food service, but ended up creating a full restaurant that offers wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches, salads, and daily specials. They are also now distributing their beer all throughout Iowa, and in parts of Illinois and Missouri.
Beyond their amazing growth, they have also brought additional value to the area. The owners wanted to build the brewery in downtown Kalona, to not only bring craft beer to the area, but to also introduce more people to Kalona. The brewery owners also believe that eating local and organic food is important. Because of this, they have locally sourced their menu ingredients from suppliers like Wallace Farms in Keystone, Pvelka Point Farm in Mt. Vernon, Friendly Farm in Iowa City, Organic Greens in Kalona, Echollective Farm in Mechanicsville, Kalona SuperNatural, Muddy Miss Farms near Hills, and Dirty Face Creek Farms near Hills.
Kalona Brewing Company is a prime example of the success businesses can find with the ECICOG RLF, as well as our other RLF programs. Not only can these programs provide funding that businesses may not be able to find elsewhere, but as successful businesses pay back funds we have more opportunities to support other businesses, creating increased economic growth in our region.