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Professor raises bar with ‘Upper Room Brewery’

Dustin+Favinger%2C+a+UNK+lecturer%2C+channels+his+passion+for+brewery+as+a+co-owner+of+a+bar+in+Downtown+Kearney.
RYAN RANGE / ANTELOPE STAFF Dustin Favinger, a UNK lecturer, channels his passion for brewery as a co-owner of a bar in Downtown Kearney.


paulseno2@lopers.unk.edu

Many professors have hobbies and second jobs off campus but Dustin Favinger, a lecturer in the College of Business and Technology, as well as the Director of the Career Center, has taken his passion for business and marketing and used it to be a co-owner of the Upper Room Brewery.

The brewery is on 56th Street and it’s the second church-themed brewery in Kearney.

The Upper Room is an in-house brewery, and it is currently serving over 15 different brews, all with theological names such as “Forbidden Fruit”, “Holy Smokes”, and “Final Bridge”. The brewery is home to IPA’s, lagers, porters and other stout beers. The brewery’s name is also derived straight from the Bible.

“Jesus and his disciples had their last meal in The Upper Room and throughout the New Testament and some of the Old Testament, but a lot of the New Testament, a lot of things happen in The Upper Room,” said Michael Freitag, a co-owner with Favinger. 

The Upper Room Brewery opened in early 2020, and it is the product of Favinger and his business partner, Michael Freitag. With Favinger’s background in business and Freitag’s gift and love for brewing, the two combined their skills to create yet another successful business in the City of Keaney. Freitag, a former chaplin, found his passion of brewing beer after his wife Amy bought him a home brewing beer kit. He was then hooked. 

When it comes to the brewery’s philosophy, Favinger and Freitag knew exactly what they wanted their business to represent. 

According to their website, the business partners want to “bring people together over unique, quality drinks. We long for our pub to offer a quiet vibe where the world’s noise is kept to a minimum. We hope to educate people on the process of brewing, the intricacies of it – and help them find a beer that best suits their palate.” 

Favinger said the steps taken between himself and Freitag took about a year of planning when it came to, “hunting for a space, configuring the buildout and fine-tuning the business plan.” What was once what Favinger describes as a “pipe dream” is now a reality. 

Visitors can experience the Upper Room’s vast seating and listen to religious music playing over the speakers. There is chatter among friends and colleagues, enjoying what the pub has to offer. 

“It’s nice to have a place to come and just sit, talk, be able to hear yourself think and enjoy a beer,” said Devon Thompson, a guest at the brewery. “There aren’t a lot of places like this around anymore. It’s a nice change of pace.” 

Upper Room Brewery offers events such as Loper watch parties and bingo nights. They also host food trucks that sit in the parking lot. 

Upper Room has also partnered up with Gambino’s Pizza so customers can order and have it delivered to the brewery. They will then receive 25% off their entire pizza order. Upper Room is open from 4-9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 3-9 p.m. Friday and 2-10 p.m. Saturday.

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