Daytonians of the Week: Michael and Murphy LaSelle, founders of Belle of Dayton

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Daytonians of the Week: Michael and Murphy LaSelle, founders of Belle of Dayton

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Tom Gilliam
Michael and Murphy LaSelle, founders of Belle of Dayton distillery. Submitted photo by Tom Gilliam

The Belle of Dayton distillery has been operating at 122 Van Buren St. at Wayne Avenue, in Dayton’s Oregon Historic District, since 2014.

But it was in May of this year that Belle of Dayton co-founder Murphy LaSelle told me that 2016 “is our statement year.”

“We’re coming of age,” he said simply.

With the upcoming release of several new spirits, an expansion into several other larger Ohio cities, and a new label design, Belle of Dayton is poised to take on the spirits world. And that’s why founders Mike and Murphy LaSelle are our Daytonians of the Week.

We caught up with the LaSelle brothers to capture a wee dram or two of that spirit. Here’s what we found out.

Michael and Murphy LaSelle, founders of Belle of Dayton distillery. Submitted photo by Tom Gilliam Staff Writer

Names: Murphy LaSelle, 36 | Mike LaSelle, 35

Job Title: Co-owners, Distillers, Sales, Marketing, Accounting, IT, graphic design, Janitorial, etc, etc..

What’s your favorite spot in the Dayton area?

Mike: Trail Running any of the Five River Metro Parks.

Murph: The Oregon District.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Murph: Pretty much the same for both of us- Late Night Pizza and Whiskey.

Mike: Overeating and imbibing.

What’s one word you think people would use to describe you?

Murph: Passionate.

Mike: Exuberant.

Why did you decide to stay in and settle in the Dayton area?

We are 2 of 5 kids who grew up in Dayton; we love it here! We can’t imagine a better place to raise a family, and we thought it would be a great place to grow our businesses and live. It was important to us that our distillery have ‘Dayton’ in its name and branding, and to be located downtown.

How did you get involved with owning and running a distillery?

This is our dream. We started 7 years ago brewing beer and eventually, that led to distilling. We love spirits and feel pride in every Belle of Dayton bottle. After 10 months and 93 distillations, we can’t wait for everyone to try our Dayton Gin!

What was the most challenging part of that?

Licensing and regulations. Distilleries and both federal- and state-controlled, and there’s a fairly steep learning curve when it comes to spirits production and distribution.

How did you push through the challenge?

Having three brothers in the business — Tim LaSelle is the head distiller at Belle of Dayton — we divide and conquer. We all have strengths and rely on each other to push through challenges and turn it into something positive.

What inspires you about Dayton?

The energy of the people along with entrepreneurs who, just like us, are passionate about doing something better and different. Dayton was founded by inventors and innovation — that ‘spirit’ is still strong to this day.

If you could change or bring one thing to Dayton, what would it be?

Mike: For a grocery like Dorothy Lane Market or Trader Joe’s to put a new retail location downtown.

Murph: More locally owned bars and restaurants, attracting more people downtown.

What do you think Dayton will look like in 10-15 years?

Mike: We will see more vitality; more people biking, utilizing the rivers and our developing downtown amenities.

Murph: Oh yeah — and more Aged Rye Whiskey and Bourbon from us!

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