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Local brewery owner lashes out against ‘naysayers’

‘Future is bright in our own capable hands,’ Lock 27 owner Steve Barnhart says in ‘Letter to Miami Valley’

“I’m writing you today because some things need to be said.”

That’s the opening line of the “Letter to the Miami Valley” that the owner of a Dayton brewery shared with this news outlet on Tuesday.

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Steve Barnhart, the founder, CEO and chief brewing officer of Lock 27 Brewing,  has had it with the naysayers who spread doom and gloom about the Dayton area. “With others talking down the region, I felt like I needed to defend where we’re going,” Barnhart said about the letter. “I see so much positive right now.” 

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Steve Barnhart in his Centerville brewery in 2015. Staff file photo by Jim Witmer

Here’s the rest of the text of Barnhart’s letter, addressed to “Dear Miami Valley,” in its entirety:

“There has been a great deal of negative press in the last few weeks concerning the Miami Valley and its economic past. While seeing these stories is disheartening to say the least, as CEO of Lock 27 Brewing, I look around our region every day and see the positive spirit and sprouted seeds of growth.”

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“Since the day Lock 27 Brewing made the decision to expand our startup business into the heart of the region two years ago, I’ve personally seen no shortage of entrepreneurial drive to a different future for the Miami Valley.”

“ It’s in every locally owned restaurant, coffee shop, and food truck. It’s in every independent merchant selling their goods and services in a way no one else would dare to. It’s in the tech startup garages of people you may know. It’s in the charity that wanted to find a different way to have real impact on people’s lives. It’s certainly in our own industry where just over six years ago, none existed in the region. Basically, it’s in the hearts of every person you know willing to take the risk on an idea that seems just crazy enough to be something!”

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“And THAT, my fellow citizens of the Miami Valley, is our future. Do not listen to the naysayers who tell us what’s wrong and how it came into being. The past is yesterday, never to return.” 

“Listen to those who talk about what could be. For the future is tomorrow, and yet to be determined. It doesn’t matter what the Miami Valley once was, it only matters what the Miami Valley will be. And in my eyes, that future is bright in our own capable hands.” 

>> Daytonian of the Week: Steve Barnhart

Barnhart is a native of Chicago who moved to the Dayton area in 1984. He spent 15 years working in corporate development at NCR. An avid home-brewer since 1997, Barnhart opened Lock 27 in Centerville in June 2013. Then in September 2017, he opened the much larger brewery and restaurant adjacent to Fifth Third Field in downtown Dayton. 

FILE PHOTO BY JIM WITMER, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER (Jim Witmer/Contributed)

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Barnhart told us he wasn’t quite sure what he’ll do with his “Letter to the Miami Valley.” He may post it on the brewery’s blog. He might distribute it more widely to media. 

But one way or another, he wants to get the word out. 

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