WATERLOO — Lark Brewing Co. is shuttering its University Avenue tasting room while it searches for a new location to expand.
The brewery, which opened in October 2016 in the lower level of Beck’s Taproom Grill, 3295 University Ave., said road construction coupled with the closing of the upstairs restaurant have been devastating to visits in the tasting room.
Lark will keep brewing on site and continue its wholesale beer distribution to Iowa bars and restaurants and to Hy-Vee and Happy’s Wine and Spirits locally.
But customers wanting to visit the current tasting room will have their last chance from 4 to 9 p.m. today and from 2 to 9 p.m. Saturday.
Lark Brewing had submitted a proposal to lease the RiverLoop Public Market Building downtown to expand its brewery and open a barbecue restaurant. But the City Council voted in May to award the lease to Verve, a kombucha brewery and bistro.
Lark’s majority owner Darin Beck said the brewery is now looking for a new location to meet its needs.
“I couldn’t be more disappointed in losing the Public Market,” Beck said in a news release. “I felt we had the best proposal, offering the city the most rent and best overall plan for the building.
“Lark would have been open for business in a matter of a few months there,” he added. “We have had some investors interested in locating the brewery outside of the Cedar Valley, but we are doing everything possible to stay here if we can.”
Head brewer and operating partner Sean Christensen also said losing out on the Public Market was a “devastating blow.”
“I know that the beer we brew has a place in many people’s hearts, and I’m hoping we can move Lark to a new home right here in the Cedar Valley,” he said. “I have poured my entire heart and soul into Lark and nothing makes me happier than seeing people enjoy our beer.”
Beck said the business is open to additional investors as it looks for a new location.