Daytonian of the Week: Dayton Beer Company founder Pete Hilgeman

Pete Hilgeman and his wife Jen. Submitted
Pete Hilgeman and his wife Jen. Submitted

Pete Hilgeman’s Dayton Beer Company opened rather humbly in 2012, nestled in a small retail storefront next to a convenience store in Kettering. The tasting room had seating for only a handful of customers and, at that time, DBC was, in every sense, a microbrewery.

What a difference four years make.

In April 2015, Dayton Beer Company opened the doors of its 8,000-square-foot production brewery and beer hall off East Second Street in downtown Dayton, where DBC produces beers that are canned and sold throughout the southwest and central Ohio retail market. Just last month, Hilgeman announced the downtown locations was growing again, adding a 3,500-square-foot expansion and opening the “2nd Street Pizza Company” in conjunction with nearby Brixx Ice Co. And the original tasting room in Kettering remains open and operating.

>> RELATED: Dayton Beer Company to expand, add food service

We caught up Hilgeman, our Daytonian of the Week, to find out a bit more about the 29-year-old head brewer, operations manager and founder of The Dayton Beer Company.

What’s your favorite spot in the Dayton area?

Anywhere outdoors.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Ice cream.

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


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

My family is from here and I wanted to help bring back some excitement and pride in Dayton because its a great place to live.

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

It started as a hobby and evolved from there. At the time I opened there weren’t any other breweries in Dayton, so I figured it would be a great time to be the first and give it a shot. The first day we opened I knew there was no turning back — I was going to make this my career.

>> RELATED: Dayton Beer Company celebrates 4th birthday with special brews

What was the most challenging part of that?

The unknown and the endless amount of work.

How did you push through the challenge?

Knowing that people believe and support what I do and have the trust in me to make it work. Its a funny thing when you have a great support structure, creativity, and a vision, you can accomplish quite a bit.

What inspires you about Dayton?

The potential.

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

I know you said one but I would love to have two things: a downtown basketball arena that could also host major concerts/events, and a professional European-style soccer stadium. I am a soccer fanatic so that’s sort of a selfish one.

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

One heck of a cool place to live, work, play, and visit. For me the Midwest is an amazing place to live, and I think we are finding our soul again as a city.

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