DYERSVILLE (AP) — For longtime residents of Dyersville, the brick building that lies in the shadows of the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier affectionately has been called “the pajama factory” for years.

However, inside the former H.B. Glover sewing factory, a new business is brewing. And when it opens this weekend, it will offer residents and visitors a taste of local history and a look at the future for downtown Dyersville.

Textile Brewing Co. is a dream realized for Carol and Tom Olberding of Dyersville.

The couple, along with loved ones and community partners, worked tirelessly for months to renovate the building — now known as “Mildred” — to turn it into a microbrewery and brewpub.

Carol, an art teacher, said she and her husband, a pharmacist, always have been craft beer aficionados. Four years ago, she “woke up and decided” that she wanted to open a brewing operation of their own.

Tom handles the brewing side of the business.

“Most people who start brewing have been brewing for a long time or they’re home brewers who decide to go into the business,” she said. “We came at it backwards. We had all the love of breweries and beer, but I never once doubted his ability to make beer because he is an organic chemist at heart.”

It wasn’t a “casual hobby,” according to Carol.

“Every time we travel for beer, we talk about the flavors; we research the ingredients,” she said.

In 2017, Tom, a Dyersville native, began crafting batches of beer in a 5-gallon brewing system for family and friends to sample.

After expanding those efforts at the brewery, the goal is to have 10 of their own beers on tap at a time, Tom said. The business also will feature other local and state brews served up by one of 16 part-time employees.

“We’ll have guest taps that will have ciders and wine and other beers — local Iowa beers — that we don’t necessarily make or don’t have on tap at the time, so people have a variety of things to choose from,” Tom said.

There will also be “simple” bar fare to order, including soft pretzels with beer cheese, flatbreads, skillet cookies and baked cheese curds.

An important part of renovating the building was maintaining the character of the space and utilizing as much of the old wood, machinery parts and fixtures as possible.

You have free articles remaining.

Become a Member

When the Olberdings first visited the structure, the connection was instant, Carol said.

“I walked in and I moved in emotionally,” she said. “And I fell in love. I just fell in love.”

Nearly everything that was left inside the sewing facility when it closed in 2010 has been retained. A significant number of those items are returning to the space in new roles.

“There was all this stuff in here, and I wanted all of it, and everybody thought I was crazy,” Carol said jokingly.

Some items being reused are the sewing machine’s former thread cones. They will be the bases for beer tap handles. Panels also were removed from the walls to showcase the building’s original shiplap.

“I still have so much stuff that I have to bring in here to decorate,” she said. “Even when I had to get something new, I tried to repurpose the scraps.”

The Olberdings said they have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of community support throughout the renovation and construction process.

“I can’t stress enough how much this is a community effort,” Carol said.

In 2018, the Olberdings received a $100,000 community catalyst grant from the state through a collaboration between the City of Dyersville and the Dyersville Economic Alliance.

Jacque Rahe, executive director for the Dyersville Economic Development Corp., said the brewery is “the key” to the city’s downtown revitalization efforts. The Olberdings purchased the building on contract from DEDC.

“They are part of the major infrastructure necessary to bring people downtown,” she said. “We have waited a long time for this to happen. And just to give people another place to go in our downtown is extremely exciting.”

The brewery will be located in the area known as Steeple’s Landing, which will also feature the future location of a 15,000-square-foot, multi-purpose building. The structure will include both commercial and residential space, with Dyersville’s Spireon location recently announcing that it will relocate to the facility.

As the opening day nears, the Olberdings are eager for everyone to meet “Mildred,” Carol said.

“It doesn’t seem real,” Tom added. “I think it will kind of hit me when people start walking through the door and ordering beer and seeing happy people behind the bar.”

Subscribe to Breaking News

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Load comments