MIAMI VALLEY — Within the last decade, craft breweries have been catapulted into the beer spotlight. As the industry continues to flourish, new businesses are springing up in the area, with two coming soon to Troy and Huber Heights.
We sidled up to the bar at Warped Wing Brewing Company to talk to co-founder Nick Bowman about the area’s burgeoning brewery business. Located on the outskirts of downtown Dayton at 26 Wyandot St., Warped Wing features a brewery and tap room, and offers 45-minute guided tours behind the scenes of their production and packaging facility.
Bowman poured forth on a number of subjects including how local breweries join forces in a competitive market, as well as the future of the industry.
Q. How do the various breweries work together as a community?
A. “We’ve got a pretty strong community here in Dayton, we have a local group, the Dayton Brewers’ Alliance that meets once a month. We talk through local happenings, different initiatives, how we can all work together, and we also follow up with a social (gathering) … it rotates, we meet at a different brewery every month.”
Bowman cited the Dayton Ale Trail as another example of how local breweries work together. Conceived by colleagues from the Crooked Handle and Hairless Hare breweries, the Ale Trail is a promotion that launched in June, allowing beer lovers to visit different breweries and have them checked off on their “passports.”
“It went over so well right after the launch that the Dayton Visitors’ Bureau wanted to support it and they’re doing a video. They went and filmed at the different breweries; they kind of captured the essence of what makes it so different.
“We also work together to throw big events to highlight the Dayton community. Through Dayton Beer Week, we did an event at the Yellow Cab (Tavern), which is a great venue for support local food trucks, local breweries. That’s something we kind of put together as a signature Dayton Beer Week event.
“We’re all facing similar challenges, similar opportunities, and we work together. Our goal is to help grow craft beer as whole — not only in Dayon, that’s our primary mission but also beyond. Craft beer is such a small part of the overall beer market. If we work together — yes, we’re loosely competitive, but we’re more collaborative in our approach — the more people we can introduce to craft beer, the more people are going to enjoy the beer and visit the breweries.
Q. What is the future of craft brewing in the Miami Valley?
A. People want more variety — especially people in the 21-35 age bracket, who have grown up with more options for everything — and that’s something craft breweries can provide.
“It’s ‘liquid exploration,’ I like to call it,” Bowman said. “People’s palates are expanding and beer is finally catching up to where wine is.”
Bowman said he also sees independent breweries becoming an important part of local communities.
“It drives local economy. People want to know where their products are being made,” he said. “Whether it’s beer or clothing or farmers markets. The more of that, the better for our local communities.”
He also predicted that the brewery market will become more localized, with breweries focusing on staying relevant in their neighborhoods and communities.
“The further you get outside of your home market, maybe the less relevance you’ll have. You’ll see more emphasis on taprooms and the experience at the brewery. I still think there’s opportunity for distribution, but the days of breweries having really fast growth and growing into regional and national breweries — I think you’ll still see that, but it will be few and far between.
“Right now, we’re southwest Ohio, that’s the world we live in. Maybe filling out Ohio and that’s it. But that chase for distribution, I think you’ll start to see that slow down a little bit. Breweries will start to focus on their home markets.”
Bowman also noted that brewery owners stay on top of their game by utilizing services like Aileron, a non-profit small business consultant headquartered in Tipp City that offers courses and workshops for business owners, company presidents and CEOs to help them improve and advance their business goals.
“They also provided direction on having an outside board of advisers, which is one of the things that we really took advantage of and helped our business dramatically,” he said. “We have a board of three members from different, various experiences in the entrepreneurial world. We meet with them once a quarter and they basically tell us what we need to hear, not want we want to hear. And they’re there to support us and help us and be a mechanism outside of the walls of our business to help us make decisions and plans for our future. It’s been a great process.”
Other Miami Valley breweries
• Carillon Brewing Co.
1000 Carillon Boulevard, Dayton; carillonbrewingco.org
Sample history by the pint at Carillon Brewing Co., where beer is made the way it was in the 1850s. The nation’s first museum with a license production brewery, Carillon brings the history of Dayton’s English and German immigrants to life through the foods they ate and the beers they brewed.
• Dayton Beer Co.
41 Madison St., Dayton; thedaytonbeerco.com
Opened in 2010, DBC is a European-style beer hall and production brewery located in the heart of downtown Dayton, just a stone’s throw from Fifth Third Field. In addition to always-on-tap beers, canned and distributed beers, and seasonal beers, there’s always something new at DBC, which offers a rotating selection of limited-release libations.
• Fifth Street Brewpub
1600 E. Fifth St., Dayton; fifthstreetbrewpub.coop
Touted as “the real-life version of Cheers,” Fifth Street Brewpub boasts a regular clientele and differentiates itself from other local brewpubs by being a 100 percent member-owned co-op. Situated among the historic Victorian homes in the St. Anne’s Hill neighborhood, the pub is committed to investing in the community, whether through its annual homebrew contest of the Guest Bartender program that gives local non-profits to sling beers in exchange for a portion of the sales.
• Toxic Brew Co.
431 E. Fifth St., Dayton; toxicbrewcompany.com
Located in the historic Oregon District, Toxic offers a broad array of potent “high gravity” beers in a wide range of alcohol content, color, hoppiness, and maltiness. As the brewbar’s website states, “We try to brew more variety than quantity.”
• Branch and Bone Artisan Ales
905 Wayne Avenue, Dayton; branchandboneales.com
An independent brewery, Branch & Bone states on its website: “All from the earth and are made with water, hops, barley, and yeast. But it is the labor and creativity of the individual that guides all of these earthly ingredients together into wonderful creations.” Guided by European traditions and modern American brewers, the brewery often offers locally grown ingredients, with a flair for “funky, alternative fermentation.”
• Hairless Hare Brewery
738 W. National Road, Vandalia; hairlessharebrewery.com
There’s something for everyone at Hairless Hare Brewery, which offers a wide selection of craft beer brewed on-site, from a crisp blonde ale to a savory chocolate stout. Come test your skills on the 4-foot-tall Jenga game or just relax and please your palate with some great craft beer.
• Eudora Brewing Co.
716 Wilmington Pike, Kettering; eudorabrewing.com
YOU are the brewmaster at Eudora, the area’s first and only customer-brewing facility and nano-brewpub — a brewery that produces beer in no more than three barrels of beer in one batch. Anyone over 21 — regardless of their skill level — is welcome to come in and brew their own beer. Eudora offers a variety of styles available to brew, and they’re continually adding styles to choose from. Eudora also serves as a taproom, where we brew our own ales and lagers and serve them on draft.
• Crooked Handle Brewing Co.
760 N. Main Street, Springboro; crookedhandle.com
Founded by a group of close friends and opened in 2015, Crooked Handle is Springboro’s first craft brewery. Crooked Handle offers a wide variety of brews and ciders, as well as live music, food trucks and more.
• Moeller Brew Barn Troy
214 W. Main St., Troy
Moeller Brew Barn in Maria Stein is expanding into Troy, opening a second location in a former church just two blocks west of the public square. Renovation of the building is set to begin at the end of this year.
• Alematic Artisan Ales
6182 Chambersburg Road, Huber Heights; alematicbrewing.com
This brewery will specialize in craft beer and hard cider. An opening date for its taproom, which will be located in the shopping center on Chambersburg, has not yet been set, but keep an eye on the brewery’s website for more details.
This list of breweries is by no means complete. To learn about other sites in the Miami Valley region, visit the Dayton Ale Trail page on Facebook.