In Read’s Landing, an unincorporated river town at the confluence of the Mississippi and the Chippewa, life is in constant flux. But since 2011, one business has remained a constant presence in town—Read’s Landing Brewing Company.
Located inside a historic brick building overlooking the river, the small brewpub was opened by Bob Nihart, an Apple Valley resident whose family owned the historic building since 1935. Nihart started his own contracting business in 2002, but by 2009 was looking for a new challenge. “I just got tired of it and thought, ‘Hey, I own a cool old building, why not open a brewpub?'” Nihart says. “My wife called my bluff and in 2011, we opened.”
After five and a half years, Read’s Landing Brewing has become a fixture in the town of 164 people. “It has been an incredibly successful business, more than I ever expected,” Nihart says. “We have built a business beyond my wildest dreams, but I also wanted to enjoy an early retirement. […] My grandfather died when he was 44 and my father was 64. As you get older, you start to realize just how short life is. I spend more time looking back than I do looking forward. I felt it was time to pass the business on to someone with the same passion I had.”
In January, Nihart announced to the brewpub’s fans that he had found a buyer, or buyers, to take over ownership of the business: husband and wife Kent and Karla Schedlbauer. The couple were enamored with Read’s Landing Brewing Company since their first visit in 2014. “We were immediately drawn to the business after having a great meal and a fantastic beer while overlooking the river,” the Schedlbauers remember. “We have always wanted to invest in a business where we could work together. It was, in fact, our first visit to Read’s Landing Brewing Company that got us interested in the craft beer industry.”
After years of searching for an area business to purchase together, Kent and Karla decided to leave their careers in corporate America behind when they heard through Nihart’s realtor that the brewpub was up for sale. “We jumped at the chance knowing what a great place it was and how Bob had set it up for future success,” Karla said. As of March 2, the couple took over operations of the business, but has kept the brewpub largely the same as it was before. In fact, customers may still spot Nihart there, as the Schedlbauers kept him on as the brewer of the house-made beer for the pub.
When asked what excites the Schedlbauers most about owning the brewpub, they talk about the historic building’s unique atmosphere. “Read’s Landing Brewing Company is a place where people can relax and enjoy being together, so we are most excited about continuing to serve our new and repeat customers while making sure our employees are happy,” Karla says. “What keeps us going is the pride we feel when we see people having fun and enjoying our food and beer.”