Blue Blood Grand Opening

Brian Podwinski (left), president and founder of Blue Blood Brewing Co., gives a tour of the historic Robber's Cave to Wendy Birdsall, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, and City Councilman Carl Eskridge during the grand opening of Blue Blood Brewing Wednesday near S. Ninth and High streets. Podwinski built the brewery on top of the cave and will sell tickets to tour it.

For a man who overcame pre-construction delays and finding federally protected bats in the cave below his brewery, a little road construction is no big deal to Brian Podwinski.

Blue Blood Brewing Co.'s new brewery, restaurant and taproom at 925 Robber's Cave Road opened just over a month ago, right about the time construction crews started closing Nebraska 2 at night right in front of the business.

Podwinski said he was worried the construction, which completely closes a part of the highway from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. on weeknights, would put a damper on the business. But he said he's been surprised at how well things have gone.

"We're doing really, really well," he said.

Podwinski announced plans more than a year ago to move the brewery from 500 W. South St. to the site of Robber's Cave near 10th and High streets.

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He sought out the site largely for the opportunity to reopen the cave, which dates back nearly 150 years and once served as a storage area for an early Lincoln brewery.

The cave had been shuttered and sealed up since 2000. And it stayed shuttered a little longer than Podwinski had hoped thanks to the discovery last winter of northern long-eared bats, a federally protected species.

Because of that discovery, Podwinski had to wait until mid-March to start prepping the cave for the public, and parts of it will have to remain off limits. Up until now, only invited guests and people attending special events have toured the cave, but tours for the general public were set to start Wednesday afternoon, after a Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting event.

"It's been a long road, but it's been a lot of fun," Podwinski told the guests at Wednesday's event.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.


Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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