Maquoketa couple opens first brewery in town in over 100 years

A Maquoketa couple decided to help the community thrive by opening the town's first brewery since Prohibition.
Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 10:31 PM CST
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MAQUOKETA, Iowa (KCRG) - A magazine article listing the 11 things that showed a city was thriving prompted Mark and Judy Lyon to open Maquoketa Brewing.

“I got to number 11 and it said that you had a brewery, which we did not have and it said maybe perhaps that was the number one biggest indicator of a thriving community,” Mark explained.

Even though he has been interested in home brewing for almost ten years, Mark said he never saw himself opening a brewery.

Still, he went to his wife with the idea.

“I said there were two things, ‘One, you have to have cider on tap because I like cider more than beer’, and two we had to have purse hooks for the women to hang their purses, so those were my two requirements,” Judy mentioned. Mark agreed to both and they set the ball rolling.

Between construction, marketing, and the pandemic, it took them two years to finally open.

Mark said the reception has been incredible.

“There was a huge pent up, local demand, but also people travel to visit breweries all the time, so we had literally every table that was available full almost every time we are open,” he said.

Wendy McCartt, executive director of the Maquoketa Area Chamber of Commerce, said this project is pivotal for the town’s future.

“Thirteen years ago, yesterday, our downtown had a significant fire that absolutely decimated a portion of our main street,” she explained. “So we have been rebuilding ever since then and we do not give up easily.”

McCartt said the brewery gives new life to Maquoketa’s Main Street.

She said, at one point, the building was almost beyond repair, but people came together to raise money to save it.

“We were able to save 110 South Main and it went from being an eye sore in our main street to one of the most beautiful, magnificent buildings that we have on main street now,” McCartt mentioned.

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