Zipline co-founder and head brewer Marcus Powers said distribution in the Hawkeye State will officially kick off with tap takeovers at Red’s Alehouse in North Liberty (5–7 p.m. Wednesday, March 5) and Des Moines’ El Bait Shop (Thursday, March 6). The brewery’s move into Iowa marks the first time Zipline beers will be available outside of Nebraska.
Zipline’s Copper Alt, New Zealand IPA, Oatmeal Porter and the rotating seasonal — currently India Red Ale — will all be available on Iowa taps and beer shelves. Draft-only offerings include Black IPA, Harumeku (a saison) and Nitro Pale Ale, which is brewed with oats. Zipline also plans to distribute its limited edition, barrel-aged beers in Iowa when they become available.
Since opening in November 2012 as a small start-up, Zipline is now the third largest brewer in Nebraska. (Powers said he was the only employee 13 months ago, but now oversees nine other workers). Distribution to Iowa, Powers said, is a natural progression for Zipline because the brewery wants to supply customers in neighboring states before distributing farther east or west. Not only does the brewery’s proximity to Iowa mean fresher beer for consumers, as well as shorter trips for account management and quality control, Powers said it also means taking part in Iowa’s lively craft beer culture. After receiving distributor interest from a number of neighboring states, Powers said Zipline representatives conducted “undercover” operations to gage each market and were impressed with the scene in Iowa. “We went into Iowa and were fascinated by the craft beer buzz,” he said.
Along with being available in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City corridor, Powers said Zipline distribution will be focused on Ames, the Des Moines metro area and Council Bluffs.