FROM THEIR SLOGAN, TO THE BEER, TO THE NAME ITSELF, LIMESTONE BREWERS CAPTURES THE ESSENCE OF WHAT MAKES SMALL-TOWN IOWA A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE
In the Limestone Brewers taproom, a giant metallic version of their logo hangs high on the wall overlooking the bar.
The sign, lit up like a neon light, can easily be seen from the street through the building’s big glass windows.
The simple, hexagonal shape reads the brewery’s name and slogan — “Limestone Brewers, Brewed in the Middle of Everywhere.”
And as much as it invites customers in off the street, the sign also underscores the people behind the brewery.
“Think of the quality of life, and the lower cost of living in some of the smaller, rural communities.” co-owner Tony Wynohrad said. “And they’re within shot of all of these larger [cities].
“When you think about it from from that perspective, rather than thinking ‘I live in the middle of nowhere, this stinks, there’s nothing to do’ — if you change your mindset, you say ‘actually I live in the middle of everywhere.”
Wynohrad and Josh Olson met each other while on the Osage Fire Department, discovering they both had an interest in brewing beer. Together in the summer of 2018, they opened the Limestone Brewers tap room.
“It was a long time in coming. Not only was it learning how to brew beer, but finding something that would work on Main Street in Osage, or really any small town,” Wynohrad said.
Wynohrad, who is from Minneapolis, moved to Osage in 2003 with his wife Laura who is originally from the area.
”We wanted to move back to raise our family here, but we always planned to move back by the time our kids were in school,” Laura said. “We moved back when our oldest was only a year-and-a-half because of a job opportunity I had at the time. So it was a little bit earlier than planned, but it worked out great.”
And it’s that sense of family and community that helps drive the brewery forward, and is part of the reason why they chose the name “Limestone Brewers” instead of brewery or brewing, which are more commonly used by other craft-beer makers.
“The word ‘brewers’ is more focused on the people behind the place, rather than just the physical place,” Wynohrad said . ”It’s about brewing beer, sure, but also about brewing up ideas to bring people into our community.
“Its more about creating that place for people to come, to hang out and to socialize.”
Limestone Brewers, the only brewery in Mitchell County, is part of a larger trend nationwide that has seen many customers opt against mass-produced beer brands in favor of local, hand-crafted options.
But Limestone is hoping to mix new trends with a good-ol-fashion sense of community.
“I don’t think we’ve done a lot of that in the last five, ten, fifteen years — you know, have that interaction with your neighbor, so to speak.” Olson said. “The world of the internet has made it a lot easier to stay home, but you don’t get that one-on-one interaction. And we enjoy seeing that — we’ve had people say ‘I’ve seen someone [at the brewery] that I haven’t seen in five years’. And that’s been great.”
In addition, Limestone is also building giant, wooden targets in the back room to start hosting axe-throwing games for the public. They’re also putting in pizza ovens and toying with the idea of putting together an escape room.
“When you combine a brewery and an escape room, you can get all-sorts of creative.” Wynohrad said.
Tony, Laura and Josh all said that being a Main Street-business in a small town has given them a new perspective on what it means to live and work in their community, and that they hope they’re doing their part to contribute to the longevity of it.
“We’re brewing right in the middle of everywhere. So hopefully we can get people to come here.” Wynohrad said. “Whether that’s just to the brewery, or if they want to stay.”