Ted and Becky Nagy, Co-Founders and Owners
Ted was first introduced to craft beer back in the 1980′s while he was living in the Pacific Northwest. This is where he first tasted Lew’s home brew and fell in love with the qualities and workmanship of craft brewing.
He was a machine designer for 19 years, and still fantasizes about the massive machinery, but has since focused on his entrepreneurial talents. Ted and Becky enjoy sailing, wine, beer and food tasting at locations around the world.
Lew Brewer, Founding Brewer
Lew started homebrewing in 1986 and later worked for Redhook on their old bottling line where he picked up tips from the pros. He learned to brew in a professional setting on Mike Hale’s original “low tech brewery” (as Mike used to say) in Kirkland Washington in 1990. Having moved to Kalona, Iowa from Seattle Washington, he connected with Gary Fitzpatrick in Iowa City, a pioneer of craft brewing in Iowa, whom he brewed for during the late 1990’s.
Lew has a special admiration for those pioneer craft brewers who in the 1980’s and 90’s went prospecting for gold in a terrain that was not nearly as open, hospitable, and acceptable as it is today. Beer wasn’t trendy back in those days, but those craft brewers put a stake in the ground with their passion and hard work. A tip of the hat to those folks, thank you for opening the door!
THE KBC TEAM
Lucas Gibson, Plant Manager and Lead Brewer
A craftsman by trade, Luke came to the Brewery originally as a builder and problem solver, installing much of the internal structures in the building at its inception, and beyond. Overtime he learned the craft of the industrial brewing process through intensive hands-on work, mentoring and research. An oxymoronically accessible enigma, he self-describes as: an Iowa native, problem solver, workaholic, artist, bad speler, outdoors lover, and observer of the universe.
Jeremy Hassman, General Manager
During his first kitchen job, Jeremy Hassman began following the career of Chef Dan Barber of New York’s Blue Hill fame (featured in Season 1 of Netflix’s Chef’s Table), gravitating toward Barber’s food and agricultural philosophy. Since then, Hassman has gained experience in nearly every restaurant position, both front-of-house and back, working in kitchens in Washington, Iowa City, Coralville, Colorado and New York. In 2016, in pursuit of his dream, Jeremy was chosen for an apprenticeship program at Stone Barns Center in New York, which led to a lead waiter position at the esteemed Blue Hill at Stone Barns restaurant, during which time the restaurant reached #11 on the World Top 50 List and won a James Beard award for outstanding service.
A Kalona native, in 2018 Jeremy returned to the area to continue his career near family, working at Café Dodici as the front-of-house manager under mentor and owner Lorraine Williams, learning the art of the exceptional guest experience.
Initiating personal small-scale agricultural pursuits in eastern Iowa, Jeremy now has an opportunity to put his food and land philosophies into practice as he forges his own path, while respecting the traditions of the Midwest.
In March 2020, Jeremy joined the KBC team as the restaurant’s general manager, which provided an opportunity to work alongside his brother, KBC Head Chef Oliver Hassman, who shares similar food philosophies. Now Jeremy looks forward to finding ways of bringing the farm-to-table experience to Kalona Brewing Company while navigating the changes of the restaurant world.
Oliver Hassman, Head Chef
Chef Oliver Hassman grew up seven miles south of Kalona with his two siblings, and is a graduate of the Kirkwood Culinary Arts program. A need for an active and creative endeavor that he could take pride in each day led him to his current profession. He got to know the ins-and-outs of the restaurant world by starting as a delivery driver at Iowa City’s downtown restaurant, The Mill before moving into a key place on the kitchen staff. In search of new experience, he transitioned to Coralville’s Vesta, first as a line cook, then into the role of sous chef and finally, to Vesta’s head chef, under the invaluable mentorship of owner Chef Seth Hershey. As part of Chef Hassman’s many responsibilities and accomplishments over his five years as head chef at Vesta, he developed a specialty in knowledge of beer and wine pairings which provided an ideal opportunity for exploration and new opportunities at Kalona Brewing Company. He is thrilled to be working with so many wonderful people in the positive atmosphere at KBC, and is very excited to have a leading role in the growth and success at the Brewery.
Winson Leaton, Cellar Keep
Once upon a time Winson lived in Frytown. He grew up, emerging in adolescence as the class clown and a pretty good drummer (thanks to a lot of time listening to Rush, Pink Floyd, the Police, the Foo Fighters and Dave Mathews, in that order). Eventually he found himself with over a decade of experience in the food industry and in 2014 made the jump to craft beer. He originally began with Kalona Brewing Co. in sales and distribution, and now his work is focused on the brew floor. Winson likes being surrounded by great coworkers and friends, and lives in Kalona with his lovely wife Kim, daughter Azry and son Riker.
Tyler McKeon, Sales & Distribution Associate
Tyler is an Iowa native originally from Delmar, IA and is now residing in West Des Moines. He is a graduate from Black Hawk Community College in Moline, IL. and in his spare time he enjoys riding motorcycles, biking, kayaking, and being a part of the craft beer scene. Tyler loves to travel and go on long motorcycle rides with his father and is a big fan of the Green Bay Packers. He has a passion for craft beer and in 2018 he started working in the Iowa craft beer industry as a packaging technician. He is currently Cicerone Beer Server Certified and working towards his Cicerone Certified Certification. Tyler is looking forward to working with and talking to accounts, customers and fans of Kalona Brewing Co. in the Des Moines and surrounding areas.