Big Grove Brewery expands to Cedar Rapids, Des Moines

While Big Grove started out in Solon, its popularity grew in Iowa City. Now, the brewery is expanding to surrounding cities.


Larry Phan

The Big Grove Brewery & Taproom in Iowa City is seen on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021.

Isabel Tuisl, News Reporter

Iowa City’s Big Grove Brewery is expanding to Cedar Rapids and Des Moines.

Big Grove launched as a 3.5-barrel brewhouse in Solon, Iowa in 2013, focusing on freshly made craft beer and elevated pub cuisine, Big Grove Director of Operations Dave Moore said.

In 2017, the brewery’s Iowa City location opened in the Riverfront Crossings district.

Iowa City’s Big Grove location has customers traveling from 20 to 30 minutes away, Moore said.

The new locations in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines will cater to those that travel to Iowa City for the restaurant, but it will reach new customers, too.

“We have tons of great people and employees and provide another home for those employees,” Moore said. “With the history of beer, brewing, and Czech heritage, we’re excited to consider different beers that celebrate the cultural and historical legacy of the area.”

The Cedar Rapids location will have a similar patio experience, fresh menu, food options, and beer. However, the production facility will be scaled down significantly to focus on German-style pilsners and lagers, Moore said.

Big Grove’s Iowa City lager, a German-style Pilsner, is a beer that is light and dry, with an “herbal hop and honey aroma,” the Big Grove Brewery website says.

While the production facility will be scaled down significantly, the Cedar Rapids location will be a seven- to ten-barrel lager concept, where Big Grove will brew beer, Big Grove Brand Manager Janelle Buxton said.

The lager is a nod to the history that Cedar Rapids has, she said.

“The opportunity to expand to Cedar Rapids presented itself as part of the larger effort to help develop the area,” Buxton said.

Atlas Community Studios is a consulting company that was brought in by the city of Cedar Rapids to help brainstorm ideas for the design of the restaurant and program signature events.

“We came up with ideas for how to encourage people to not only visit Cedar Rapids because of the development but also to relocate to a big community,” Atlas Community Studios founder and CEO Zachary Mannheimer said.

While the design of the restaurant is still conceptual, the idea is to make the space incredibly unique, he said.

Construction for the Cedar Rapids location does not begin until 2023, but construction for the Des Moines location is set to begin in December of 2022, Buxton said.

Moore said plans for the 15-barrel brewery and taproom in Des Moines are proposed to be located on the east side of the Crescent Chevrolet Building as part of the Ingersoll corridor project, a redevelopment of 5.5 acres on Ingersoll Avenue.

“We’re optimistic to help create a destination location with more pedestrian traffic,” Moore said.

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