Tanya Brock has filled two high-profile positions in the surging Dayton-area craft beer scene, first as the founding head brewer at Carillon Brewing Co. that opened in 2014, and as the general manager of the Fifth Street Brewpub, a position she has held since September 2016. Here’s a look at our newest Dayton.com Daytonian of the Week, in her own words.
What’s your current job title and duties and how did that come about?
I am the General Manager of Fifth Street Brewpub, which means I have the honor of overseeing the business operations of this tremendous community gem. Back in 2016 while transitioning out of Carillon Brewing Company, I came to FSB for what was supposed to be a part-time job while I took a break for the summer. Quickly it was clear I had found my home. The board — on my birthday — asked me to step in to the position to utilize my beer knowledge, management skills, vision development and outreach experience to grow this blossoming co-op.
What’s your favorite spot in the Dayton area?
Well duh, the Fifth Street Brewpub patio. During the day I love sitting in the sun and quiet on the patio to get my work done. At night I love the symphony that comes as each table's chattering joins in with the next to build a natural pattern of laughter and pauses that come with each sip or bite. I love listening to talented area musicians on a warm summer evening. I love drinking Darren's latest liquid creations and spending time with our regulars.
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What’s your guilty pleasure?
While I don't get to do it often, I love cooking. I love creating new recipes that are veggie-forward. I get lost in the methodical process of preparing the ingredients, combining flavors, and watching as the array of colors fall on the plate. As a result I take (and share) too many pictures of my food. And, while my creations are not always warmly welcomed by my family, I still find pleasure in the act of sharing what I make.
Why did you decide to stay in and settle in the Dayton area?
Dayton, like many American cities, is trying to redefine itself as a result of changing industries. Unlike many cities, though, it is steeped in a rich tradition of innovation and a strong sense of pride connected to its history.
>> RELATED: Fifth Street Brewpub hires former Carillon Brewery brewmaster (September 2016)
I see this in the Daytonians I meet, and I love it. It gives me a sense of ease and hope that the city will continue to thrive. When moving here from Indiana I was looking for a resource-rich area for my family. The bountiful parks system, sports clubs, and arts offerings are key assets that demonstrated this area would be a place my boys would later be proud to call home.
What’s been your most recent professional challenge, and how did you push through the challenge?
At the beginning of this year I led FSB through a brand refresh. Although we were healthy and well loved, I knew we needed something to reflect on the strides made in the first five years as well as a beacon to amplify the coming growth.
It was tough to figure out just how to give respect to the founding FSB family while introducing change. Translating and giving identity to the multiple facets of beer, food, and community was paramount. I wanted to remind members and the larger community that this place is a gift and a resource. Getting the right partners in place was key in making it all come to fruition.
>> FOOD NEWS: ‘Pork Lord,’ salmon tacos highlight brewpub’s new menu
Thankfully Sharpe Creative was able to take the vision and make it tangible. Getting the board behind the idea was a big part of building my confidence that the hard work of balancing so many logistics was going to be worthwhile. We continue to roll out pieces and programs of the image, but I am thrilled with what has been accomplished thus far and hope it fosters even more community connections.
What inspires you about the Dayton area?
Of course I get inspired by craft beer and delicious food (particularly the cauliflower at Old Scratch Pizza!), but what I love more is the people. I love talking with new people, learning their stories, their journeys, and what inspires them.
I love people-watching. At RiverScape, the frenzy of festivals are where I go to watch as the collage of Daytonians mix to fill the landscape with smiles and laughter. On other days, it is getting energized at Ghostlight Coffee where the clicking of keyboards and business conversations fill the air with productivity and collaboration. When I'm with other people, it inspires me to keep doing what I do.
What do you think Dayton will look like in 10-15 years?
I believe Dayton will be a swanky, dressed-up version of itself in 10 to 15 years. I believe the energy and innovation we see today will continue and produce more physical change. I see struggling neighborhoods getting the much-needed helping hands to clean up and shine. I see fundamental resources such as grocers being put in place to help Daytonians live a better life. I see an even more vibrant beer and food scene that is a tourist destination, drawing visitors from across the state. I see community conversations switching from blame and despair to collaboration and can-do.