Having spent three years perfecting his brewing technique and establishing a solid fan base in historic downtown Cedar Falls, Dave Morgan, founder of SingleSpeed Brewing Co., has set his sight on a second location for his brewery: the historic Wonder Bread building in Waterloo.
We caught up with Morgan – who is also the owner of Mulligan’s Brick Oven Grill & Pub – while he was taking a break from brewing SingleSpeed’s popular American IPA to learn more about his restaurants and his big new project.
How did you get your start in the restaurant business?
I knew at a young age it was something I was interested in. I got my degree in business management and after I graduated from UNI, I held general manager positions at a couple of locally owned restaurants. In 2002, I opened up Mulligan’s with an investor group. Ten years later I saw an opportunity to bring craft brewing to the area and decided to open SingleSpeed Brewing.
Mulligan’s and SingleSpeed are two very different types of restaurants. Despite this, are there any commonalities between the two establishments?
The thing that runs through both places is that the vast majority of food is made from scratch. We’ve really tried to put our unique twist on everything we make. We don’t bring any products in – we make our doughs and sauces from scratch and hand-bread everything that gets breaded. Craft beer is the other common thing. Early on at Mulligan’s, I saw an opportunity to focus on craft beer on the beverage menu because it was a void in town. That really transitioned into me deciding to start brewing myself and ultimately opening SingleSpeed.
SingleSpeed is known for its small-batch unique beers built for the venturesome beer drinker. What are some of the more unique beers you’ve made?
We’ve made a handful of unconventional ales. A couple of our favorites include “Cooperate,” which was an American Double Stout featuring Iowa grown hops and locally roasted coffee from Sidecar Coffee. The coffee had been aged in a Cedar Ridge Brandy barrel. “Piñata Pale Ale” has to be on this list somewhere, too. We collaborated with Trevor of Broad Street Brewing to bring maize, jalapeno, agave and tequila into glassware for a Cinco de Mayo celebration. Delicious!
Tell us more about your new project in Waterloo!
We’re renovating the historic Wonder Bread building in Waterloo to create a production brewery with a full restaurant, beer hall and outdoor beer garden. We’ve got the original blueprints from 1927 and we’re working with the National Registry of Historic Places to restore the building to historical standards. The new location will dramatically increase our production. We’ll be going from a three-barrel brewery at our current facility to a 20-barrel brewery. Our plan is to have the brewery up and running in the summer of 2016.
What do you like about banking with MidWestOne?
My business banking relationship with MidWestOne started when I took full ownership of Mulligan’s. I like the fact that there’s a local branch right there in Cedar Falls that’s easy to get to. My banker, Luke, is really responsive and really quick to get back to us with any questions we have. When we did a remodel at Mulligan’s, he also helped better educate me on financing options and has pointed me to other reading materials and financing options that might help us. He’s been great.