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the neighbor

Fall, 2014. I’m a freshman in high school, working for my aunt at Fox Seasonal Farms, a pumpkin patch in Broken Bow, NE. Driving the barrel train, working the zipline, and listening to Husker Football games on the old radio while I worked are memories I will never forget from my days working at the patch. A new memory was born that year, one of extreme success from the start. Jenny told me we would be moving buildings the next season to make room for a brewery. I remember my 14 year old self thinking, “Why would anyone buy beer from a little town in central Nebraska?” I thought the only beer people drank was Bud or Busch Light. I didn’t even know microbreweries were a thing. The excitement on my Aunt and Uncle’s faces was enough for me to think, they must be crazy, but who knows? Two years later, the pumpkin patch permanently closed, partially to crop failure, but mostly to make room for the fast growing Kinkaider craze. I wish I could say I was sorry to see the patch go, but I’m not going to lie, I was ecstatic to not have to spend my weekends shaking with fear atop the zipline platform for hours at a time. (Sorry Jenny!)

December, 2014. Kinkaider is getting up and running with just a few beers. Dan the Wiser and Devil’s Gap are smash hits, but that wasn’t what drew me into the excitement of Kinkaider (OBVIOUSLY, I was only 14 guys!). What started my love for KBC was their root beer. I’ll never forget my first sip of the sugary goodness. From that moment on, I would con my cousin, Carsten, into stealing me a cup of root beer while working at the pumpkin patch. This went on for a month or two, until Barry caught us, finally figuring out why the root beer kegs were emptying so fast. Even today, at 21 years old, there is still nothing better than a cool glass of that delicious root beer.

I watched Kinkaider grow from 1 little building to the five buildings on the property today from my front deck. Kinkaider grew up with me, like a best friend. Many nights were spent on that deck watching the sunset while listening to the live music as the wind carried it all the way down the dirt road to my house. I still don’t think my dad has fully forgiven my uncle and his colleagues for putting up the south production building that blocked the music from reaching our deck in 2018. I mean, how could they make us start actually walking the long 100 yards to Kinkaider to hear the music? Rude. 

2017. I distinctly remember the excitement in the air the day my uncle told our family they were expanding to Grand Island about a year and a half after opening the brewery. They had blown through their 5 year plan in two years! Maybe they weren’t as crazy as I first thought. Then came the Lincoln expansion in 2018. It was described as the absolute perfect location in the heart of the Haymarket, right on the old train station. It really is perfect. 

Fall, 2018. I graduated high school and moved to Lincoln to start college at Nebraska Wesleyan University. I wasn’t nervous, I had a slice of home just down the road, nestled in the heart of the Haymarket. All I had to do if I was missing home was head down to the patio on a Husker game day, and I’d find half the town of Broken Bow packed into the train station, including most of my family. Even with the plethora of breweries and bars in Lincoln, you’ll still find the Broken Bow natives making themselves right at home on the train station. They can’t help that Kinkaider beers are some of the best on earth. KBC became my party trick at NWU, which involved me overusing the line, “Kinkaider is literally in my backyard”. More than one person definitely thought I was way more involved with KBC than I actually was. (The only involvement I had was the fact that I was Barry’s niece). 

2021. I finally got the opportunity to bartend at Kinkaider Lincoln. A dream came true. It’s as cool as I expected, getting to stand behind the bar, slinging beers and getting to know people from all walks of life. I looked forward to my Monday night shifts behind the bar, never hesitating to tell any customer that would listen, “The OG Kinkaider is LITERALLY in my backyard”. I’m sure some of the regulars were tired of hearing me say that, but I couldn’t help it. Growing up alongside Kinkaider was such a huge part of my life, it was like bragging about my best friend’s success. I was and still am so proud of how big the Kinkaider family has become, and the growth KBC will continue to experience. 

KBC is so much more than a brewery, not just to me, the neighbor, but to anyone who gets a chance to experience it. Kinkaider has been referred to as a family to many of the people involved in its success, and they are exactly right. From the owners down to the regulars and everyone in between, you’re all a part of the KBC family. It’s ever growing and always evolving. So if you’ve yet to experience the exhilarating first taste of a Kinkaider brew or their legendary root beer, come on in. No matter who you are or where you’re from we can’t wait to welcome you to the KBC family.