Neil Chabut wanted something more than just a job.
And he got just that.
Chabut, founder and owner of Eudora Brewing Company, earlier this year completed a significant relocation and expansion of his brewery to 3022 Wilmington Pike. The new 20,000-square-foot taproom, restaurant and brewery offers 18 taps, craft root beer, and nitro cold-brew coffee. A full-service kitchen serves upscale brewpub fare, including salads with house-made dressings, burgers, sandwiches, and tacos, among other fare.
The 2007 Fairmont High School and 2011 University of Dayton graduate is our Daytonian of the Week. And here’s his story, in his own words.
What were the primary factors that prompted you to launch Eudora?
I think the main factor was timing. When I started writing the business plan, there weren't any existing breweries in the Dayton area. A couple of new breweries were in planning stages, but none had opened yet. So I noticed a big opportunity, and wanted to take advantage of it since I loved brewing so much (I was an avid homebrewer at the time). I had just graduated from college, started grad school, and at the same time became infatuated with craft beer and brewing.
The idea was crazy because I had no business experience at all, nor the money to start a brewery. But I was lucky to have family members who believed in me enough to loan me the money to make my dream a reality. Another factor was the desire to be my own boss and pursue my career on my own terms. The college-grad school-professional world track wasn't appealing to me. I wanted to do something that I absolutely loved, not just something that qualified as a job.
What’s a typical work day for you now?
That's a hard question to answer. Every day is different, and that's one reason why I love what I do. Some days I brew, some days I do maintenance (there's always something that needs to be fixed), some days I spend responding to emails and paying bills. Other days I'm making root beer or cold-brew coffee. I don't even like coffee, but it sells like crazy. Recently I've been dealing with some employee issues and working on an employee handbook. Occasionally I'm lucky to have a day that doesn't have a lot on the schedule, so I try to get away and recharge my batteries. But no, there's no "typical" day anymore... they're all different.
Why did you decide to stay in and settle in the Dayton area?
I was born here, I was raised here, I went to college here, and my family is here. I love Dayton! I find that the people here are particularly kind and warm. I also love the spirit of Dayton. It's hopeful and ambitious. Daytonians work hard to make awesome things happen. Also, I've always been a homebody... my family is everything. If they were to move away, I'd probably sell the brewery and move with them. We're very close, and I think we've all known that we all plan to stick around the Dayton area for our entire lives. So I really have no reason to leave. I love to travel and see new places, but Dayton is a wonderful place to call home.
What’s been your most recent professional challenge, and how did you push through the challenge?
Most recently, the biggest challenge has been dealing with employees. Hiring the right people is a lot harder than it seems. Even if an applicant has all of the right qualifications, nails the interview and just "feels right,” there's no guarantee that it's going to work out. They could even perform really well for the first week, and then decide not to show up or not to perform once the newness wears off. Humans are imperfect, and finding ways to work with those imperfections on a day-to-day basis can be extremely challenging.
Sometimes it doesn't work out, and you have to part ways. That can be very, very difficult, especially when you like the employee on a personal level. I often have to remind myself that business is business, and I'm obligated to do what's right for the company, even if it's difficult or painful or stressful.
What are your favorite places to eat and/or drink in the Dayton area, beyond, of course, Eudora?
I don't have time to name them all, but some of my favorite places to eat are Thai 9, Lucky's, Christopher's, Sky Asian, Taqueria Mixteca and The Pine Club if I'm looking for a great steak. For drinks, I often spend time with friends at The Barrel House, Canal Street Arcade, Southern Belle, Century Bar or any of the awesome craft breweries in the area (wink).
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Fruity cocktails. Especially when I'm on vacation or celebrating something. I'm not afraid of ordering something festive or fruity when I'm in the mood! The whole "guys only drink beer and whiskey" routine is so silly.
What inspires you about Dayton?
I'm inspired by the drive and ambition that people in Dayton have. Daytonians are problem solvers, hard workers and innovators. But I'm mostly inspired by the people themselves. We have a diverse community of amazing people here — some of the kindest and most compassionate people you'll ever meet. There's a spirit of community and teamwork here that you won't find anywhere else. That's what inspires me — people from all walks of life being good to each other, and people coming together to help make the world a better place. That's Dayton.