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Madhouse Brewery leaving Newton

Published: Monday, Nov. 18, 2013 11:13 a.m. CST • Updated: Monday, Nov. 18, 2013 11:28 a.m. CST

In 2008, Mason Groben saw an opportunity when his parents’ Jasper Winery moved from Newton to Des Moines. That opportunity became Madhouse Brewing Company, a local craft brewery that has called Newton home for the past three years.

Now, like its predecessor, Madhouse Brewing Company will be making Des Moines its new home early next year.

A number of Newton and Jasper County officials helped make Madhouse Brewing Company a reality. When a 70-year-old law prevented Groben, the vintner for Jasper Winery, from working for the brewery, then-mayor Chaz Allen and Iowa Sen. Dennis Black led the charge to have the law changed.

Allen declined to comment for this article.

Madhouse Brewing Company was launched as a partnership between Groban and Iowa Telecom CEO Allen Wells. A number of other investors joined in, but when Iowa Telecom was purchased by Windstream, the brewery bought back Iowa Telecom’s shares.

Those shares are now being offered to those who would be interested in investing in Madhouse Brewing Company. Each unit of shares will be sold for $6,000. The brewery also plans an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, to allow potential investors to see its new facility south of the East Village in downtown Des Moines.

Madhouse Brewing Co. has been operating as a production-only brewery since its launch in 2010. Its revenue comes from off-site distribution sales at grocery stores, liquor shops and restaurants in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Illinois.

In its announcement Friday, Madhouse Brewing Company said the new locations will allow beer enthusiasts to visit the brewery for tours, tastings and special events. The statement said current brewery business models show that operating an on-site retail operations provides significant revenue sources.

Groban did not respond to efforts to comment for this article.