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Pigeon River Brewing Co. gets creative in tackling COVID-19 challenges

Local News

MARION, Wis. (WFRV) – COVID-19 has created challenges for all small businesses. While many had to make the tough decision to close up shop, one small town Wisconsin brewery is tackling the pandemic head-on.

“Even more than COVID, the labor shortage is really what hurt us,” said Kayla Knaack, co-owner of Pigeon River Brewing Company in Marion.

Kayla, along with her husband Nate, runs the brewery. Add five kids at home, and the pandemic was taking a toll on their business and family. “I’d work until 3 or 4 p.m. and then flip-flop so I could take care of the kids,” Nate Knaack explained.

For the city of Marion, with a population of just about 1,200 people, that just throws a wrench into the talent pool.

The couple told Local 5’s Barrett Tryon that closing their doors was never an option. “We really just stepped back and took an overall look at our business. Where are we at, where we nee to be, and how we’re going to get there,” said Nate.

The brewery ended up trimming down their menu to make it easier for everyone, especially kitchen staff.

“It was a good opportunity to bring some more craft into our menu and offer some different options that aren’t available in our area,” added Kayla.

Their business, just like the recipes, had to adapt to the changing climate of COVID-19.

“What we learned is it’s very scary to change something we’ve been used to for the last (almost) 10 years,” said Nate. “But, if you can execute on things right, and plan well, you can make things a great success.”

Read more about the brewery, and what they offer, on their website.

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