This week’s Daytonian of the Week, Joe Waizmann, spent years as the king of local beer festivals, launching both the AleFest and Alefeast in Dayton and organizing similar events elsewhere. Before that, he worked in the wholesale distribution end of the wine and beer business.
But all the while, Waizmann was fermenting a plan to someday open his own brewery. And after assembling a team of co-founders with specialty areas of expertise, the 59-year-old Waizmann saw that plan became reality in early 2014 with the opening of Warped Wing Brewing Company in downtown Dayton. Waizmann serves as president and CEO.
Success came quickly. The brewery expanded by leasing additional space several months ahead of schedule, and 16-ounce cans of Warped Wing now dot the shelves of retail stores throughout Dayton and beyond. And the brewery’s tasting room is a bustling place on weekdays as well as weekends.
We caught up with the busy Mr. Waizmann to pick his brain about his hometown and more.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Besides beer, of course, reading, golf, and a sweet tooth that fortunately works well with beer.
What’s one word you think people would use to describe you?
Determined. My wife and friends say “stubborn,” however I prefer the positive spin on the descriptor.
Why did you decide to make Dayton your home?
I was born and raised in Dayton, and I believe it’s the best choice for family, friends and business, while also fostering a strong sense of community.
How did you get involved with co-owning and running a brewery?
My 35 years in the business in various roles as wholesale distributor, importer representative, AleFest Dayton & AleFeast Dayton events creator, homebrewer, beer judge, Dayton Beer Week founder, as well as underlying passion for all things beer, led to the formation of Warped Wing with my partners Nick Bowman, John Haggerty, and Mike Stover. These factors along with the enthusiastic support of excellent staff and community led to the formation of our brewery.
What was the most challenging part of that?
Each step of our six-year process has been filled with challenges which are positively viewed as learning experiences. Thus far all have been reasonably surmountable.
How did you push through the challenge?
Principally through the strength and support of my partners and our staff — we have an excellent team!
What inspires you about Dayton?
Dayton as the acknowledged “Birthplace of Innovation,” and invention serves as an inspiration to our brewery and to other local small businesses.
If you could change or bring one thing to Dayton, what would it be?
More breweries, of course. Residential housing should drive more support infrastructure, making our city more appealing to area and out-of-town prospective residents and employers. I also think we will benefit from attracting more regional special events.
What do you think Dayton will look like in 10-15 years?
Our local urban community will continue to grow. I’m a firm believer in establishing the base, and our city is on a path to achieve this. At the same time, we’re a welcoming area for family and business growth while maintaining smaller-city qualities. Our river area along with our copious bike trails will spur recreational growth.