Joel Krogman has done this before.
As a consultant, business owner and developer, he has led more than 40 business openings. The latest seems to be one of his favorites.
He is one of the owners of Bent River Brewing Co. in Moline. The company has opened a microbrewery in a second location, this time in downtown Rock Island. The brewery at 24th Street and 5th Avenue is expected to begin manufacturing its own craft beers in a few weeks. But its tasting area and drive-up coffee/beer hut has already opened.
The concept of Bent River Brewing Co. was conceived by Tim Koster and opened its doors in 1997 at 1413 5th Ave., Moline, according to its website. Koster rejoined the team at Rock Island as a quality specialist. Steve Ratcliff is the brewmaster.
Krogman and a group of owners purchased Bent River four years ago. In September, they purchased the Rock Island site. It was constructed as a car wash in the 1960s and continued operations as such into the 1990s. Five years ago, it was purchased by a Davenport family that added car detailing and auto services, a convenience store and a drive-through coffee shop, operating the business as the BearTrac Junction Service Complex.
Krogman said the Rock Island site offers a coffee hut, a bar and merchandise room, and a beer production site, complete with a new silo that can hold up to 65,000 pounds of grain used in making beer.
He has been involved with Bent River since 2000, before the current ownership group purchased it. Other members of the ownership group are Brian Smith, Nick Bowes, and Alan and Kathy Reschke.
“It has been a very blessed business for us, more than you could imagine,” Smith said. “And I want to stress how good the city of Rock Island has been. They have been very good to us. They want businesses here.”
Both Smith and Krogman said the reason for the second location is that their beer is in high demand for distribution elsewhere.
“We could not keep up with the demand. We cannot produce enough,” Smith said.
Krogman said their most popular beer, Uncommon Stout, is sold in more than 60 regional and local establishments, and “another 60 are begging” to have it as well. He said the business is going to triple the amount of beer it can produce.
“Our craft beer draws quite an eclectic group,” he said. “It would not be unusual to see a 65-year-old business attorney talking over craft beers with a young person with dreadlocks.”
The merchandise room includes a few tables and chairs and sells items ranging from Bent River T-shirts and jackets to keychains, hoodies and beer and coffee mugs, Krogman said.
For private parties, the Rock Island location will bring in catered food made at the Moline site. In addition, he said, customers can bring in their own food items. Eventually, he may build a kitchen on that site.
Equipment came in last week from China. “The Chinese use a lot of German techniques” in the manufacture of the equipment, Krogman said.
He and Smith said the drive-up hut is doing very well. It sells homemade beer muffins and coffees as well as half-gallons of beer.
“We make our own gourmet coffee out of the same coffee beans we use in our beer,” Krogman said.
A grand opening will take place sometime in late June, he added.