END OF AN ERA: Dayton’s ‘Godfather of Craft Beer’ sells Belmont Party Supply

Mike Schwartz educated Miami Valley palates with beer-tasting events and a diverse retail selection

Mike Schwartz, who emerged as the Dayton area’s chief craft-beer evangelist after purchasing Belmont Party Supply in 1984, has sold the business and retired, marking the end of an era in which Schwartz earned the nickname of “The Godfather of Craft Beer.”

“Thanks for the memories! May the Schwartz Beer Be With You Always,” Schwartz wrote on the retail store’s Facebook page Tuesday, accompanied by a photo of his wife Donna and himself.

Thanks for the Memories! May the Schwartz Beer Be With You Always

Posted by Belmont Party Supply on Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Schwartz operated Belmont Party Supply at 2621 S. Smithville Road for 36 years and also was the founder of the former Ollie’s Place in Washington Twp. For nearly a decade, he hosted a monthly beer-tasting event at the Trolley Stop pub in Dayton’s Oregon District. In 2017, he hosted his 100th tasting there.

Schwartz told this news outlet earlier this month that he was selling the building that houses Belmont Party Supply and the business, which includes a craft beer and wine retail shop and a state liquor-agency store. He will retain ownership of Brewtensils, a home-brewing-supplies store adjacent to the retail beer-and-spirits store.

Credit: Mark Fisher

Credit: Mark Fisher

A message left with the new owners of Belmont Party Supply Tuesday was not immediately returned. Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Liquor Control records show that the retail store’s licenses to sell beer and wine were transferred to Vigneshwara Enterprises LLC, based in the Mason area, earlier this month. Schwartz said the buyers have experience in operating state-agency liquor stores.

Schwartz is a Dayton native who was working as an electrician in the early 1980s when he was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer.

Credit: FILE

Credit: FILE

“I went through a round of chemotherapy. The doctor classified me as disabled for life, but I refused to accept it,” Schwartz told this news outlet in 2017. “One day, while I was taking chemo treatments, I noticed an ad about a carry-out in Belmont that was for sale. I took a look at it, and we bought it in 1984.”

“We began to pick up classic imported beers such as Old Peculiar and other English ales. The business took off, and we were positioned correctly when the American craft-beer industry took off.”

Schwartz’s Facebook post generated a strong response from well-wishers, including this comment:

“I legitimately would have never discovered a great hobby in craft beer or brewing had it not been for Belmont Party Supply. Thanks for bringing great beer to Dayton!”

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