We first wrote about The Barrel House – Coming Soon To Third And Wayne in January 2013. At that time, Olive owner Kimberly Collett had recruited her cousin Jeff Heater to move from Maine to come to Dayton as her partner and manage this coffee shop for beer. Jeff jumped write in to oversee the remodel of the building as the GM & Chief Beer Geek.
It took a while, to maneuver through some construction and lease obstacles and The Barrel House officially opened on Jan 30, 2015. On the eve of their first anniversary celebration on Sat, Jan 30th, Jeff took some time to talk with DMM:
While this is your first anniversary, when did planning for the BH start?
It really all started with a text picture of Chimay White, mid March, 2012.
When I lived in Columbus my favorite bar always had the beer on tap and I would tease my cousin with it. This particular time I was living in Maine and celebrating with a Chimay from my local bar. The reply text was “I have an idea if you want to come home”, and that got the ball rolling. The Olive had been open nine months or so and Kim saw the potential. Originally the idea was that by the time I actually made the move back, the store would be ready to open. I could live upstairs in the apartment, it would be perfect. We all know that didn’t happen!
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in the first year of business?
Facebook is a tool. No, seriously! A business tool. Social Media is an entirely different beast as a business. Alga-rhythms, paying to boost, who sees what, and on and on… One doesn’t want to be annoying yet it’s the way we keep up these days. It can be a double edged sword. Liking and sharing posts does a huge amount to spread the word. I’m trying to be better about tagging local breweries when we tap their beers or receive new package product.
We have such solid reviews, many sites contact us asking that we take it up a notch and pay to play.
What’s the biggest surprise you’ve had about the business?
We are not a brewery! We leave that to the other guys. We get so much mail trying to sell us forklifts and spill kits and all kinds of fun stuff, however, we will not ever need any of it!
If you had it to do again what one thing would you change?
Absolutely nothing. I’m a firm believer in the here and now. All the what-if’s in the world wouldn’t result in the same end product. Part of our whole logic was to open when it was finished, nothing we had explain away. I distinctly remember the day i realized it was ready. Still, when we see necessary changes needed, we have evolved. We adapted to the needs of the customer. We will continue to evolve.
What can we expect new or different in year two?
More controlled events. My goal from the beginning was to have one wine and one beer event each month. However big or small. It’s time to focus on that. I want people to know that the second Thursday of the month is something at the BH.
When we were the new kid, breweries and distributors were throwing stuff at us so fast, we were not in a position to say no. Now I know to be patient. Maybe it’ll come back around? Maybe it’s not worth the hassle? As I say this, I’m already eating my words because the Ohio Craft Brewers Conference is hot on the heals of our Anniversary party. So five long days later we will have a Fatheads Meet and Greet event.
I like to think this is the end of the longest, toughest year of my life. I know it’ll never get easy, there will always be stress, and I’ll never really get a day off. But with the support of my wife, family and friends, I’ve…, we’ve made it this far. There is a great community of support here and I am certainly happy to be a part of it. We have a great staff, delivery a great product, and are committed to making our mark in the local beer scene. Here’s to many more years, Cheers!
We hope you’ll check out the 20 taps which include 17 craft beers, one gluten free cider a red and white wine at The Barrel House at 417 E. Thirds Street in downtown Dayton. You can fill a growler or howler, enjoy a flight of beers or pick a bottle of wine off the shelf, use the insta-chill cooler to chill your bottle in 5-7 minutes while you lounge in the comfy chairs and use their free wifi. You can even carry in your own food, or have it delivered.
Friday & Saturday 12p-1a