Downtown brewery unveils huge expansion with new distillery, rooftop bar & more

Published: Monday, August 12, 2019 @ 11:37 AM

New distillery, cocktail bar, and rooftop bar could open in early 2020, brewery founder Peter Hilgeman says.

The Dayton Beer Company in downtown Dayton this morning announced a significant expansion that will add a craft distillery, a cocktail/coffee bar, private-event space and a rooftop bar to the existing craft brewery, taproom and kitchen.

“We look forward to growing not only our physical operations and presence here at DBC, but the Webster Station neighborhood, the newly announced Canal Entertainment District, and Downtown Dayton as a whole,” Dayton Beer Company founder Peter Hilgeman said.

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The 7,500-square-foot “Dayton Barrel Works Artisan Distillery” will produce a variety of spirits, including bourbon, vodka, gin, and a rotating list of experimental spirits, Hilgeman said. Included as part of the new distillery will be a cocktail/coffee bar called “The Local Option,” which will specialize in craft cocktails, fine wines and a house coffee brand, the brewery founder said. Plans call for the distillery and bar to open as early as the first quarter of 2020.

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The latest expansion also will include a private event space that will boost the taproom footprint by 3,500 square feet. It will be located on the second floor above what is currently the brewery’s offices and kitchen, Hilgeman said.

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The elevator-accessible space will feature an open floor plan that will cater to mid-size weddings, corporate events, in-house events, and other private gatherings. A new 2,000-square-food rooftop bar, open to the public and adjacent to the private-event space, will offer views of downtown, Hilgeman said. 

“This newest round of expansion is estimated to bring an additional 15 to 30 jobs to our growing company over the next three years,” the Dayton Beer Company founder said. “Our relationship with Jim Weiler of 2nd Street Holdings and Brian Weaver of ALT Architects has been instrumental in this latest phase of expansion, and it will completely fill all the remaining available square footage in our Webster Station campus.”

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Dayton Beer Company opened in 2012 as a microbrewery and tasting room at 912 E. Dorothy Lane in Kettering before launching its much larger production brewery and tap room in downtown Dayton in April 2015. In August 2016, the downtown brewery expanded to add food service to its brewery and tap room. In October 2017, it added its Lost Tunnel second label. The Kettering tap room shut down in 2017.

“I really enjoy building and growing things from the ground up,” Hilgeman told this news outlet. The expansion “allows us to get to the final vision I had for the brewery over eight years ago, to be more than just a place that makes beer. That said, I will always appreciate and love our original location and the people who patronized it are and were incredible; I've made lifelong friendships through that brewery.”

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Hilgeman said he has been working on the project for a couple of years, “and all the pieces fell in to place to finally give it the green light. The infrastructure of the brewery needed to be in the right spot to take on this additional expansion, and over the last year or so, we've been working nonstop to get that infrastructure built and ready for this next phase.”

The brewery owner said he did not want to release an estimate the cost of the expansion. “However, this is a major, major investment in downtown and our Webster Station neighborhood, and we are very happy and honored to do so,” he said. “We've invested millions in downtown since we opened and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.”

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Asked about the significance of this expansion to the local brewing scene, especially downtown, Hilgeman replied: 

“Locally I would say it's stronger than ever. We are having a record year in terms of growth and production with the brewery and that's with only distributing to the greater Dayton Metro area. As our market matures, I believe you'll see breweries become more calculated with their growth in terms of both distribution and physical footprints.”

“The downtown scene is definitely seeing that evolution on a quicker scale as downtown development continues to expand and fill out available space. We've been lucky enough to invest and grow our downtown operation to fill out a large physical footprint that remains all in one area to make our production and growth pretty seamless.”