Humboldt brewery on tap

Union Works Brewing Co. has opened its tap room as the public gets a first look at a long-awaited brewery and restaurant business in Humboldt.


Local News

June 14, 2024 - 3:14 PM

Tony Works, representing A Bolder Humboldt, urges continued patience as Union Works Brewing Co. opens its doors. Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

HUMBOLDT — On April 10, 2015, brothers Tony and Josh Works set a goal. A year from that date, they wanted to sit on the patio at the future Union Works Brewing Co. and enjoy a pint of craft beer.

It took nearly a decade to turn that dream into a reality, but last Saturday, they sat on the patio and raised their glasses to celebrate the opening of the brewing company’s tap room. 

Over the past few years, the brewery quietly continued in the background as A Bolder Humboldt, a local economic development group, finished other projects. Residents and visitors learned to be patient as the building at 919 N. 8th St. morphed from an old bread factory into a signature showpiece.

Patience will still be required as the young new business continues to mature. Kitchen staff are training for a limited menu. Eventually, a full menu will cater to all sorts of tastes, both upscale and casual. 

“We knew Humboldt could use a destination restaurant and thought a brewery would be a nice thing to pair with that,” Tony Works said on behalf of A Bolder Humboldt. The tap room offers 10 craft beers.

Challenge No. 1: Find a location.

A Bolder Humboldt initially planned a spot downtown but their preferred location was too close to a school and church. The old Wonder Bread factory on the north end of town was ideal and beautiful with its arched ceiling tresses. It’s close to three churches, but just outside the legal parameters. 

“It has a ton of space, structurally,” Works said. 

The floor had to come out, giving designers options to build literally from the ground up.

Union Works Brewing Co.Photo by Vickie Moss

Challenge No. 2: Build it.

Hufft, a Kansas City-based design studio, drew the plans, working with general contractor Loyd Builders of Ottawa to bring the brewery from concept to reality.

The architect’s plans were ready in 2019. All of the woodwork — including tables, booths, counters — were built by Bison Woodworking, a local business. Metal artists at B & W Trailer Hitches contributed intricate lattice dividers and other aspects of the design.

But just as construction began, the COVID-19 pandemic slowed things down. 

“That was a time for us to take our foot off the gas,” Works said. 

A Bolder Humboldt quit giving estimates for a projected opening. Their focus was to do it right.

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