If you’re a craft beer lover, you don’t have to go far in Dayton to discover the many local breweries. The Dayton area, along with the entire state of Ohio, ranks high in craft beer production, according to the Ohio Craft Brewers Association. In the Miami Valley alone, the association lists 18 breweries on its website.
Neil Chabut of Kettering developed an interest in brewing beer when he was attending college at the University of Dayton. He started out majoring in pre-med and said his background in science helped fuel his interest.
“Brewing is a combination of culinary art and science,” Chabut said. “I really loved the scientific side of it.”
Chabut eventually switched majors to psychology and social work, continued brewing a lot of beer and looked ahead to grad school after graduation. Then in 2010, he started thinking about a career in brewing, just before the surge in craft beer production had begun.
“It was a crazy idea when there were zero breweries in Dayton,” Chabut said. “But I did some research and I thought it might just work.”
With several business owners in his family, Chabut had no shortage of mentors. He put together a business plan and sought investment support. And he opened Eudora Brewing Company on Wilmington Pike in Kettering in November of 2013.
Chabut said it was important to him to locate in Kettering, the community that gave him his roots. And now, five years later, his wildly successful brewery is expanding. His new 20,000- square-foot brewery, taproom and restaurant, located at 3022 Wilmington Pike, is slated to open its doors on Jan. 11.
“We moved about two-and-a-half miles down the road closer to downtown,” Chabut said. “We will offer 18 taps offering our classic and new Eudora beers, a full-service kitchen and an expansive outdoor patio.”
Chabut has been handling the management of Eudora alone since it opened, though he said his family and friends have been supportive, offering help with everything from bookkeeping to bartending. As the business began booming, it was clear Eudora would quickly outgrow its original space.
“We had four to five part-time bartenders in the beginning and had doubled that by the time we closed the old space,” Chabut said. “We also have a customer brewing facility, which is relatively unique to the area.”
Eudora has special equipment designed to make small batches of beer. People interested in brewing may choose recipes and get help from experts who walk them through the process from start to finish.
“I liked the idea of allowing people to brew their own beer and I didn’t know places like that existed,” Chabut said. “Turns out there’s a place in Cleveland and I visited and found out how it all worked.”
Chabut attributes the rise in interest in craft beers and brewing to consumers educating themselves more about the products they purchase and their willingness to spend more for higher quality.
“I think people are getting tired of boring, watered-down beer,” Chabut said. “And it’s fun to try new things and develop a taste for real, flavorful beers.”
Chabut developed most of Eudora’s brews from his own recipes, being a bit creative and experimental, but also keeping to the core brands. With 20 to 25 different recipes, most will be on tap at the new location year-round.
As for the outdoor space, Chabut wanted to ensure it was very large, especially with his customers’ interest in sitting outside in nice weather.
“One of my investors gave me the idea to go nuts because he said there aren’t many places around with great patios,” Chabut said. “We listened to what folks were saying.”
A full kitchen was also important since Chabut said customers enjoy experiencing great food while they are drinking good beer. He hired a kitchen consultant to help him create the menu and space.
“I’m excited about the kitchen,” Chabut said. “The items on the menu are different and you can’t just go and find them anywhere.”
As for the future, Chabut hopes to eventually add a full bar to his current offerings of beer, nitro brewed coffee and hard cider. And he wants to continue the mission he set from the beginning — to donate a portion of every sale to clean water projects all over the world.
“Eudora is Greek for a gift,” Chabut said. “I chose that name because we wanted to give back and clean water is important to good brewing. It just makes sense.”
For more information, visit www.eudorabrewing.com