As co-owner of Waukesha-based Raised Grain Brewing Co., Nick Reistad has spent the majority of his time over the past few years working to build the business from a small brewery and tasting room into a 20,000-square-foot production facility and 36-line taproom that distributes its canned craft beers throughout southern Wisconsin.
Reistad attributes “everything good” in his life, including the opportunity to start the business with his three partners, to his former career and current passion: cycling.
“The traits that made me successful as a cyclist are the ones that help me out as a business owner and entrepreneur,” he said.
Taking interest in the sport from a young age, Reistad began racing competitively in Wisconsin at age 16.
Fast forward a few years to 2005, Reistad joined the USA Cycling National Team after competing during college for the University of Wisconsin’s club team. He spent two summers with the national team in Belgium, racing against the best of the best in the highly competitive European circuit.
Reistad’s pro career later landed him four years on the Jelly Belly Professional Cycling Team, which traveled across the U.S. and to China. Milwaukee was a frequent race destination.
These days, as a business owner and father of three, Reistad doesn’t hit the open road as much as he used to. He said he’s more of a fair-weather rider. But he’s enjoyed introducing the sport to his kids. His 7-year-old daughter participated in her first cycling race last year during Tour of America’s Dairyland.
Through cycling, Reistad met his wife, best friends and one of his co-founders at Raised Grain, who saw that Reistad had the competitive spirit to start and grow a business.
“All sorts of good things have come from dedicating my younger years to a sport, and it’s just paid itself back,” he said.
He also developed a competitive spirit that still proves useful today.