Scott Nading
Pulpit Rock Brewing Company-Decorah, IA

So, what’s your story? Where were you born? How long have you been here in the Driftless, What keeps you here?

Myself, and our two co-head brewers, were all born and raised in the Driftless within 30 miles of where we work and live now in Decorah, IA. What personally keeps me in this region of the world are many things. The values I grew up learning and those displayed by the people in our communities are incredible. Loyal, trustworthy, hardworking and humble people are the majority in our area, and I wouldn’t want to raise my family anywhere else. I am drawn to open spaces and nature in general. The endless beauty of this place is awe inspiring every day, even after living here for so long. I could not imagine living in a place where I couldn’t take a short drive, float, ride, or walk, and find myself in a vast expanse of nature and free to explore it all by myself or with the ones I love.


Tell us about what you do for work or your business, and how long have you been doing this?

I am the taproom manager of our small brewery. We are a very small team with only four full-time employees. Two co-head brewers run the brewing and packaging operations, our marketing manager navigates our social media presence among other marketing and design duties, and I fill in the gaps doing everything from scheduling staff, ordering supplies, managing finances and writing our policies and procedures. I have been with Pulpit Rock for four years and started as a part-time beertender after a 10-year career as a registered nurse.


Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career with your business.

I have to say our most significant accomplishment is our ongoing support and engagement with our local community. Along with the personal generosity of our owners(s), Pulpit Rock is continuously providing donations and support to a massively wide variety of local causes. One specific example was our pledge to donate 10% of all sales to effected small businesses and their employees during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. We were proud to provide over 30 individual ‘grants’ to our community businesses in an effort to give back. We have helped many diverse causes including things like local humane societies, youth programs, community betterment, conservation initiatives, medical research, and much much more.


We’re constantly making things better, faster, smarter or less expensive. We leverage technology or improve processes. In other words, we strive to do more—with less. Tell us about a recent project or problem that you made better, faster, smarter, more efficient, or less expensive.

When March 15th, 2020 came and went on the calendar everything changed. Having our business in Iowa, we were fortunate enough to stay open in a very modified capacity providing a curb-side pick-up service for our customers. We quickly realized that our product was still in demand and we needed to devise a system to ensure the safety of our staff and customers while dramatically increasing efficiency to avoid agonizingly long wait times to receive our products. We were able to think outside the box, and with very little room to spare, we created a drive-through process that was able to meet our needs. Customers and staff were able to remain safe, while we efficiently moved product and kept the business alive with fair sales numbers.


Tell us about one person that you’ve met, that stands apart from the rest or has influenced you, while here in the Driftless.

One person I’ve met that stands apart is a man named Cody W. Cody lives and breaths everything Driftless. He is an inspiration to me because he doesn’t just say it, he DOES it. Everything from conservation, to civil rights, equality, and inclusivity, Cody walks the walk. He even created his own lifestyle brand BIG DRIFTLESS to showcase his talents with textiles and design while having a platform to promote everything the Driftless stands for. A perpetual positive attitude paired with deep and meaningful opinions makes him a privilege to know.


What do you wish other people knew about you or your business?

I wish people know how small we really are. As mentioned before, we only have 4 full-time employees. We have been blessed with a tremendous following of loyal fans and our digital presence is continuously growing. With that increasing notoriety comes an increase in peoples passionate desire to get ahold of our products. We are proud to be a true microbrewery making less than 1200 barrels of beer a year. We rarely distribute our products; you must come here to get it. When we release a sought-after brand of beer it goes FAST, many times selling out within a day or even hours. People forget that our batch sizes remain small and that is why we can impart such dramatic flavor profiles using real ingredients. 


If you weren’t here running your business, what would you be doing instead?

Canoeing, Fishing, or Golfing


How do you develop yourself outside of your work environment? For instance, a hobby, a purposeful pursuit, or maybe an appetite for exploration.

The ethical pursuit of wild game, and/or foraging for mushrooms and edible plants is a passionate hobby of mine. To follow the guidelines provided by conservation authorities while achieving something useful from nature is a perfect way to be in touch with the earth and the energies it provides. These pursuits provide many lessons and opportunities for things like humility, meditation, self-reflection, persistence, beauty and joy.


What are some of your favorite places to go for fun here in the Driftless?

The rivers! All of them. Specifically, close to me are the Upper Iowa, the Turkey and the Mississippi.


What are some of your favorite (non commercial) places to eat here in the Driftless?

Pizza Farms or any place that has scratch-made items. Luna Valley Pizza Farm outside Decorah is my favorite.


What is the most courageous thing you have done in your life?

I was a bone marrow donor for my older sister when I was only 8. I remember being very scared but knew without question that I was going to be courageous and do what I had to in order to save her life. (I gave her one of my Kidneys some 20 years later too.)


If you were to tell a friend to come and visit the Driftless Area, and they ask “Why” … what would you tell them?

“You’ll see.”