Starry Eyed Brewing Co. in Little Falls, MN
30 Sep 2019
Business, Manufacturing, Economic Development, Community
Tucked away in north Little Falls, just off the juncture of highways 371 and 10, exists a brewery that owes much of its existence to a woman named Dayna -- from its inception as a small birthday gift, to the name and logo emblazoned on its building today.
It started as a home brewing kit for her husband Thomas Goebel, the current president, co-owner and head brewer at Starry Eyed. A lifelong beer lover, Goebel discovered he had quite the knack for brewing his own beer and it grew from there.
“She thought I’d only use it once or twice and throw away,” Goebel reflected now, about a decade since that fateful gift. “I went all in. I never turned back from there.”
Then Dayna was diagnosed with cancer. While juggling a home life involving her chemo treatments, Goebel said he looked into taking online classes for brewing so he could master the art form and maintain a flexible schedule for her.
Upon her death, he decided to go all in, embarking on a two-year personal journey that culminated with the establishment of the brewery.
It was Dayna’s wide-eyed love of the world and stars, reflective of her own bright spirit and optimism, that inspired her husband to honor her with the moniker Starry Eyed when he himself took a leap of faith and founded the brewery from scratch. Her eyes actually served as the model and template for the company’s distinctive logo.
Kyle Kieffer, a longtime friend of Goebel and co-founder, joined in the venture. Kieffer had been an excavating contractor for more than 10 years when his buddy dropped by with a proposition.
“He just came up and said he wanted to start a brewery,” Kieffer said. “I was looking to either stick a bunch of money in that or do something totally different. I thought it was a great opportunity.”
“This was a hole in Morrison County, where everything was popping up in Brainerd and St. Cloud, so it became a nice place for a craft brewery,” Goebel explained. “We’ve done everything with help from friends and family.”
“Both of us reached into our own savings,” Goebel added with a wry chuckle. “And we still are. We pay ourselves very little, because most of the money goes back into this. We didn’t want investors or people we owed money to. We wanted to do it and we wanted to do it self-sufficiently.”