JEFFERSON, S.D. (KCAU) — The town of Jefferson, South Dakota has roughly 630 people living there. One of those is a woman with a passion for beer and serving her community, in more ways than one.
“Our goal is to make a culture that we want to be a part of. We just want to make good beer and be happy. And we want that for our community as well,” Nicki Werner said.
That’s the mission of Nicki Werner, co-owner of the Jefferson Beer Supply, the town’s newest place to get a drink and a snack. Locally produced snacks, a source of pride for Werner.
“There’s no way we could source 100% of our ingredients but that would be the goal, to grow the farm to table as we go and hopefully grow the whole supply chain in our area,” Werner said.
While there are dozens of local breweries in the region, most cannot say they tap the ground directly behind their business for a key ingredient.
“The four main ingredients in beer are grain, yeast, hops and water. And one part especially that I’m excited about is the water. Our well for the brewery is right here behind the brewery and it has a really unique chemistry that’s specific to our aquifer, which is like the ground salts and minerals below us. So I’m excited to have a couple beers showcase our water specifically,” said Werner.
Jefferson Beer Supply has been serving drinks made in South Dakota and in cooperation with other Siouxland breweries.
Werner said their focus now will be producing all of their own brews.
“I just place an order for our first order of grain, I’m super excited. We’ll start brewing next week. We’re starting with four brews at first,” Werner said. “By this summer we’ll have all 18 taps of Jefferson-made beer. Pretty excited.”
In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, Werner is whipping up green frosty adult beverages served on a cone. While this sweet treat is for those 21 and up, the owners want the entire community to feel welcome in their new establishment.
“This is a super family-oriented space. Our patrons have already shown us that’s what they want it to be too. So we have a bunch of board games for the kids, we have a bunch of non-alcoholic offerings if you don’t drink or you have young ones with you,” Werner said.
Werner said giving back to the area’s youth is a top priority and it will start with a daycare located down the road.
“We helped raise money for their playground, we just recently had a fundraiser for the Elk Point-Jefferson Educational Foundation that gives scholarships to high school students when they graduate,” added Werner.
While the farm-to-table movement in restaurants nationwide has taken route, Jefferson Beer Supply is working to become a farm-to-tap operation.
“This summer we brewed an Aronia berry saison. I think they’re 13 times healthier than acai berries and they grow right here which is insane. So we made a saison with them and I was like no one’s going to drink this, no one’s going to like this, and it was our first beer to sell out! So it’s a balance of making people happy and finding flavors they’re a little bit familiar with and showing them completely new things that they’ve never tried before,” Werner said.
Developing the “South Dakota style” is a major goal of Jefferson Beer Supply.
“All our beers are kind of ‘South Dakota style’. So I don’t know what that means all the way yet. I’m excited about the possibility of learning through the years of how to develop ‘South Dakota style’,” said Werner. “But I do know that means that all our beers will always focus on South Dakota flavors, South Dakota stories and South Dakota ingredients. And there’s just huge potential.”
South Dakota’s Craft Beer Week officially begins March 19th and runs through the 26th
The owners of Jefferson Beer Supply are hoping for a grand opening for this May.