Daytonian of the Week: Shane Juhl, founder of Toxic Brew

Shane Juhl stands on a plot of land adjacent to the Great Miami River north of Dayton, where he is working on building a production brewery and tap room. MARK FISHER/STAFF

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Shane Juhl stands on a plot of land adjacent to the Great Miami River north of Dayton, where he is working on building a production brewery and tap room. MARK FISHER/STAFF

Shane Juhl, the 38-year-old owner and brewmaster of Toxic Brew Company, opened the first brewery in the city of Dayton in more than a half-century — and he rehabilitated a historic building in the Oregon District to do it.

He is currently working toward building a larger production facility along the banks of the Great Miami River north of downtown Dayton. We caught up to this week’s Daytonian of the Week to find out what makes him tick — and brew!

What’s your favorite spot in the Dayton area?

The Oregon District: great shops, great food, great drink and nightlife — and all independent, locally owned businesses!

What’s your guilty pleasure?

How do I pick? Beer, tequila, whiskey, crème brûlée, an intelligent woman with a kind heart and good work ethic.

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

Moody.

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

Initially, it was my job as a material scientist that brought me here more than 15 years ago, then my daughter was born here more than four years ago, and now a brick-and-mortar business that has been open for more than three years.

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

I fell in love with brewing and the brewing process, decided to open a brewery, did a demographics study, and Dayton came out on top of the list for places needing a brewery. So about three years and much planning, and two years working on a 130-year-old building, Toxic became the city of Dayton’s first brewery in more than 50 years.

What was the most challenging part of that?

Dealing with the city of Dayton is challenging, but I’d say running the taproom and dealing with employees. As someone who came from a life of managing contracts with motivated engineers researching cutting-edge technologies and running teams of PhD’s in the latest research, I had no idea what I was doing in the bar business. At least with the beer brewing, I can rely on my chemistry and engineering background.

How did you push through the challenge?

By being the forever student, realizing I rely on those who know more than me in those areas, and learning. But I still feel like I’m treading water most days.

What inspires you about Dayton?

The people, hands down. They are great! And the people of Dayton have had a great history of innovation.

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

The beach. I grew up on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, so I miss the sound of the waves and healing properties of the salt water.

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

Better than ever! The influx of residences downtown has been happening for a few years now, and hopefully we will soon have fewer empty business buildings, which are partly the city’s fault in how it deals with building codes and old buildings.

But downtown has been on the rise for longer than Toxic has been around, and it will only get better for at least the next 10 to 15 years.

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