Lucas Kline and Nicholas Applegate have been friends since high school. Growing up in Saint Joseph, Missouri, they remained close friends while life took them in different directions. Lucas moved with his family to northwest Iowa, while Nick moved south to Kansas City with his wife. In 2019 their friendship transitioned into a business partnership when they decided to open The Iowa Project Brewing Company in Spencer, Iowa.
With the slogan “Craft. Experience. Community.”, The Iowa Project’s vision was to create a place for the community centered around experiences. Nick explained, “To us, the vision was simple. A brewery serves a community. If we build “it”, a brewery serving quality products and offering a welcoming space for all people, they (the community) will come (support this business).” Lucas added, “Making that look good on paper and profitable to others was much more difficult.”
During the early stages of planning, Lucas reached out to the City of Spencer and immediately received the support they were looking for. “We met with many community leaders, economic developers, and bankers. From day one, everyone was genuinely excited and eager to help including Amanda Mack (City of Spencer), Kiley Miller (Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corp.), Nancy Naeve (Spencer Mainstreet), Paul Daniels (Northwest Bank), Michael Wampler (NW Iowa SBDC), and so many others. Everyone involved was super supportive and willing to do anything they could to make this happen.”
One of the people Nick and Lucas met with early on was Michael Wampler, Regional Director of the Northwest Iowa Small Business Development Center (SBDC) hosted by Iowa Lakes Community College. The SBDC helped them work on financial projections and talk through the business aspects of the project. Nick said, “Michael helped us think critically about our vision, focusing on the details necessary to obtaining financing. He has continued to work with us to offer coaching and serve as a confidential sounding board as we look to grow the business.”
Today The Iowa Project is open for business offering a wide range of beers to fit a variety of tastes. Their beers are brewed in-house in small batches, and the menu is constantly changing to give you a different experience every time you visit. They also offer non-alcoholic beverages, snacks, and feature local area restaurants for dining options. They welcome families of all ages, including pets. You can visit The Iowa Project at 316 Grand Ave in Spencer, or stay up to date on their latest creations by visiting www.facebook.com/TheIowaProjectBrewCo