What a difference a decade makes.
In 2011, there were no craft breweries operating in the Miami Valley. To enjoy a locally produced craft brew, beer drinkers pretty much had to either brew it themselves or cozy up to a talented (and generous) home-brewer.
In 2020, more than 15 craft breweries are operating in just about every corner of the Miami Valley. Nearly all of those breweries have expanded significantly, either by moving to or adding much larger locations, or branching out into packaging and selling their beers in the retail market — or both.
Perhaps most astonishing is this: Not a single Dayton-area craft brewery that opened in the last decade has shut its doors, despite naysayers’ predictions of a saturated market and imminent shakeout. That shakeout may be inevitable, but it certainly hasn’t happened yet. The Miami Valley continues to demonstrate that it has a strong thirst for locally produced beers.
And there are more craft breweries in the works. At least five more small breweries are laying the groundwork to open across the broader region in 2020, with widely varying concepts and approaches that will help distinguish them in an increasingly crowded market. One is poised to open perhaps as soon as the next three weeks. Another, from the owners of Basil’s on Market, is in the very early stages of development in Mason, where the restaurant owners currently operate a bistro-style restaurant.
Here’s a look at four other members of the 2020 crop of Dayton-area craft breweries currently in various stages of fermentation.
Southern Ohio Brewing
This new Beavercreek brewery’s opening is not imminent, but it did accomplish a significant milestone toward that goal this week: Its brewing equipment was delivered.
Southern Ohio Brewing is the brainchild of James Williams of Beavercreek and his brother-in-law, Patrick Howard of Cincinnati, and it is under construction in the former special-events space at 818 Factory Road just north of U.S. 35.
“We will be an 80-seat, family-friendly tap room with some appetizers and sandwiches as well as the great food trucks from around the Miami Valley,” Williams said last week. “We will be brewing up classic and contemporary beer styles and offer a variety of beverages besides beer, such as wine, ciders, and spirits. The brewery will have an expansive pet-friendly and kid-friendly outdoor space, which will have cornhole and other activities.”
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Located near the Miami Valley Bike Trails Creekside bike trail in Beavercreek, the building and surrounding two-acre parcel previously housed Banjara Banquet Center and All In One Banquet Center, as well as a Factory Lighting Outlet store. It opened in the 1970s as the Beaver Valley Golf Center, with miniature golf, a driving range, batting cages and a game room.
Williams and his brother-in-law have been fermenting their idea of opening a craft brewery for two years, and have looked at spaces, mostly along the I-75 corridor between Dayton and Cincinnati. But the Beavercreek property drew them in.
“We used to travel down that bike path and see that place, and we thought if it ever became available, it would be a great spot for a brewery,” Williams said. The renovation has taken the building’s interior “down to the bare walls,” Williams said in November 2019, when the business partners applied for a state license.
Williams said he has visited with several other Dayton-area craft brewers, including Devil Wind Brewery in Xenia, Hairless Hare in Vandalia, Yellow Springs Brewery and Crooked Handle Brewing in Springboro, to get advice on how to navigate the opening of the new brewery.
“The brewing community in our area is amazing,” Williams said. “Everyone has been very supportive and super-helpful.”
Nowhere In Particular Cabinet of Curiosities
This new craft brewery in Kettering is likely the closest to opening day among the current crop of local coming-soon breweries.
Max Unverferth, part of the gypsy brewers who dubbed themselves “Nowhere In Particular” several years back, said one minor renovation is the only thing that must be completed before opening day, which he expects to come before the end of January.
“Once we get that done, we are going to be a fun little spot focused on some crazy beers with art that reflects our personality,” Unverferth said.
Nowhere in Particular Cabinet of Curiosities will be located in the former Eudora Brewing Company space at 4716 Wilmington Pike in Kettering. Eudora operated in the space from its opening in 2013 to the fall of 2018, when it shut down to focus on the build-out of its larger brewpub up the street, which opened in March 2019.
This will be the first Dayton-area bricks-and-mortar location for Nowhere In Particular, which began as a gypsy-brewing operation that used other breweries’ facilities to brew and bottle their beers.
"Nowhere In Particular is establishing this Cabinet of Curiosities in part to indulge its fringe audience with more inventive takes on a wider range of styles," Nowhere In Particular co-founder Pat Sullivan said last year. “We will be offering aggressively experimental brews.”
Sojourners Brewstillery, at 8150 Washington Village Drive in the Yankee Business Center in Washington Twp., is now hiring and also could open its doors to the public by the end of the month, if all goes well, according to brewery founder Jeff Marjamaa of Sugarcreek Twp.
When it does open, Sojourners Brewstillery will seat about 80 in a space that will also accommodate several recreational activities, with ping-pong tables, cornhole-toss boards and a pool table, Marjamaa said.
“Without having a patio space until we figure out a great plan for it, we decided to try to create a patio-like space and activities inside,” the business founder said.
The brewery-distillery will not have a kitchen. “We absolutely invite people to bring in food, Marjamaa said. “We will have menus of local restaurants that will deliver, and we hope to bring out food trucks as well.”
The distillery portion of the business will focus on small-batch spirits, and the beers will be “light and clean,” Marjamaa said in July 2019, ranging from older European styles to West-coast IPAs. A barrel-aging program will be an integral part of both the beer and spirits lineups, he said.
Loose Ends Brewing Co.
A father-and-son duo is gearing up for build-out and has already come up with the first food menu for their new Loose Ends Brewing Co., which is coming this spring to south Centerville.
“We have made a lot of progress in the past couple of months, though it may not seem like it from the outside,” Loose Ends co-founder John Loose told this news outlet of the new craft brewery coming to 890 S. Main Street (Ohio 48) in Centerville. “We are expecting to start the construction and build-out phase in mid-February,” with a projected completion this spring.
Loose is a 2005 graduate of Centerville High School who is partnering with his father, Kent Loose, to launch the new brewery.
“In working with our chef, we have come up with our first menu for opening that will consist of some traditional items, but is also focused on offering a wide variety of food from different backgrounds, such as Asian, Classic American, Hispanic and others,” Loose said.
“In addition to this wonderful collection of food, we will be opening with 10 different beers on tap, with the intent of pairing these beers with our dishes. Although both our beer and food stand well on their own, our goal is to create that ‘Ah-ha’ moment on our customers’ palates where the beer and food transform into something completely different and will leave a lasting impression.”
Beyond offering its own beers, the 175-seat Loose Ends Brewing Co. also will offer a full bar, including wine, liquor, and its own ciders, which the brewery will make in-house from Hidden Valley Orchards cider, Loose said.