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Checking In With ... Kinship Brewing

Kinship Brewing in DSM

January 28, 2022

What's Brewing at Kinship One Year Later

What is your business name and what service/goods do you provide for the region??

We are Kinship Brewing in Waukee, IA. We are a lager forward brewery (with some ales in our lineup) with an off-the-leash half-acre dog park and recently added a food concept we've dubbed, Next of Kin. In addition, we have a large green space on our property that will be used for live music and large outdoor events.

What area in Greater Des Moines (DSM) are you located in?

Waukee, Iowa just west of Northwest Waukee high school.

When did you open your business?

We opened our doors January 1, 2021 and just celebrated our first anniversary.

Why did you choose to open your business?

This story goes back many years ago. I was drawn to the brewing industry for more than just the beer. It was the ability to tell a story. It also gave me the opportunity to impact a community and to be as charitable as possible. And with a full year under our belt, we see so much opportunity to grow with Waukee and continue to reinforce our destination brewery status in DSM.

What has helped your business grow since opening?

The community has really embraced us. The amount of support we have seen since opening is humbling. We have found that our customers really love our large beer garden, dog park and special shoutout to the bikers that drop off the Raccoon River Valley trail for beer(s). This year, we are very excited to double down on events by simply utilizing 3 acres of our property so be sure to keep an eye out on live music, local farmers markets, dog-related events and much more.

How do you gauge success, or what does success mean to you?

We are happy that our brewery draws in many different people from all walks of life but we still take the time to speak with as many of our customers to understand what they really want. That has led us to shift our focus to being a lager forward brewery as we have heard many customers say they are wanting much more local lager options when out and about. Success is filling that void in the market and so far, we have four lagers making their way around the market, which is very exciting.

Kinship Brewing Lagers

How do you promote your business in the area? What tactics (social, email, flyers, etc.) have seemed to work the best for you?

We love to engage with our guests on social media. Between Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and our weekly newsletter we are able to promote events and keep everyone aware of what is going on at “The Ship.” Since we appeal to a variety of audiences it’s important to remember who absorbs what content. Our Instagram and TikTok audience tends to lean on the younger side. While our Facebook audience typically consists of a middle-aged audience.

Where do you go for help when you run into questions about running your business? Do you have a mentor(s) in the area you reach out to with business-related questions?

I am fortunate to have mentors in the industry and from time to time, I can lean on them for advice. But what's interesting about our industry is just how much evolution we continue to see. The pandemic alone has been a factor in consumer behavior so whether you're a long-standing brewery that has been around for 30 years or a new brewery, like us, we continue to learn as we go. I am lucky to have a team of individuals that have varying degrees of expertise in the industry, and we work together to move our ship in the right direction.

After one year, what is the most important thing you’ve learned about running a business?

Challenge the status quo. It has been a hell of a first year and I am proud to say that our team has really embraced the mentality of "do we have to do it this way?" To be clear, there isn't necessarily a right or wrong way to run a brewery (outside the obvious wrong ways) but we find it exciting to follow a road map that makes sense for us.

Kinship Brewing Ramen

What are your top priorities for the next year?

If it is not obvious by now, we are focused on increasing the volumes of lagers we produce to expand our reach. As mentioned, we have four variations that are making their way around the market: Light, American, Amber and Dark lager variations make up our lager flagships. They will be canned and available by Spring 2022 in DSM. Since launching our food concept, Next of Kin, we have received amazing feedback on the intention we are bringing to our food offerings. Chef Jake Demars has brought some amazing potential to our concept, and it is a priority to continue to expand our menu that will both support large family gatherings and a couple's date night when looking for something unique to pair with our beer.

How can DSM locals support your business and help you continue to thrive?

Come visit us at the brewery! Keep us in mind as you make your rounds to local businesses, especially for your furry friends. Follow us on social media so you can keep a pulse on the events that we are putting on this year at the brewery!

Greater Des Moines (DSM) has one of the best business climates in the country. The region is nationally recognized for having a talented and educated workforce, a cost of doing business 13% below the national average, a low cost of living and an exceptional quality of life.

Zach Dobeck

Zach Dobeck is the owner of Kinship Brewing Co. in Waukee, Iowa.