Dyersville brewing company purchases popular Bellevue brewery

BELLEVUE, Iowa — A Dyersville-based brewery soon will take over ownership of a popular brewery in Bellevue.

Tom Olberding, owner of Textile Brewing Co. in Dyersville and The Corner Taproom in Cascade, confirmed this week that he intends to finalize the purchase of River Ridge Brewing, located at 303 S. Riverview St. in Bellevue, at the end of the month.

Olberding said the operations of River Ridge Brewing, including the beers it serves, largely will remain unchanged, as he intends to maintain his breweries as separate entities.

“It’s going to be operated as it is now,” he said. “It will be River Ridge Brewing, and it will be River Ridge beer.”

Olberding said he does intend to install a small kitchen at the Bellevue brewery to introduce more food options for patrons.

Nick and Kelly Hueneke first opened River Ridge Brewing in 2016 at 118 N. Riverview Drive. Two years later, Nic Hockenberry and his wife, Allison Simpson, joined as co-owners.

Last year, the brewery moved to its new riverside location in a building that formerly was the location of an agricultural equipment dealer. The new space provided expanded room for seating and brewing.

Bellevue City Administrator Abbey Skrivseth said River Ridge Brewing has attracted numerous people to town.

“It draws that natural crowd of people wanting to check out a new brewery,” she said. “We have seen an increase of foot traffic and vehicles parking along the river since they have expanded the business.”

Reached by the Telegraph Herald, Hockenberry said the popularity and growth of River Ridge Brewing has expanded beyond its initial vision as a hobby business, so the decision was made earlier this year to sell the brewery.

“It became more of a business than a side hustle,” Hockenberry said. “We said amongst ourselves that we were interested in selling if it was the right fit.”

River Ridge’s owners turned down offers from other potential buyers before they began negotiating with Olberding about two months ago. Hockenberry said Textile Brewing’s location in Dyersville shares many traits with the Bellevue brewery, and it ultimately was decided that Olberding would buy the business.

Olberding said he has admired River Ridge Brewing for several years and found the opportunity to purchase it too enticing to pass up.

“I’ve always really liked their space and what they offered,” he said. “It was a really good idea.”

Textile Brewing Co. first opened its doors in the summer of 2019, housed in a former sewing factory building. In 2020, Olberding opened The Corner Taproom in Cascade.

Bellevue City Council members this week approved a Class B beer permit and special Class A beer permit for Textile Brewery LLC as part of the purchase of River Ridge Brewing.

Olberding said most of the current employees will remain at River Ridge Brewing, and he intends to hire an additional five or six workers to operate the new kitchen.

Ultimately, though, Olberding said his intention is for the brewery to remain the same one the community knows and loves to drink at.

“It has its own identity and atmosphere,” he said. “I don’t see a reason to change that.”