Wright State Newsroom – The soul of the striker is brewing «Wright State University

Wright State University alumni bond over their love of beer and turn a hobby into a successful business

Left: Wright University alumni Doug Lane, Perry White, and David Hatfield, along with current computer science major Michael Van Kirk (not pictured), operate Devil Wind Brewing in Xenia. (Irene Pence photos)

Written by Jessica Grau

meAll about beer for Devil Wind Brewing owners David Hatfield ’98, Doug Lane ’14 and Perry Wyatt ’96.

The three friends and Wright State alumni started their beer business in 2018 and continue to serve beer and beer using their own recipes at a Xenia brewery. Michael Van Kirk also helped start the project, but has since returned to Wright State to complete his engineering degree.

The idea was floated when Hatfield met Lynn at the Dayton Bear Company, where Lynn was a bartender. Lane had been making his own house brews with Van Kirk for the past two years and Hatfield was impressed with what he tasted like.

“The house doggie drinks were excellent,” Hatfield said. “Berry and I were in the same boat with the kids leaving for college, so we were looking for a side project. We went to Toxic Brew one night, had a lot of beer, and scheduled another meeting. And here we are. It really is,” Hatfield said. .

Lin, who has made research trips tasting different beers, even one to Oktoberfest in Germany, creates recipes based on his favourites, including English beers. The lane was lit when discussing the process of fermenting barley and soaking it in hot water to extract sugar. He also enjoys making new recipes.

“It’s like baking or cooking, or anything like that. It’s fun creating and tweaking recipes. You make what you know and then you try to improve the product. It’s great to have a beer that’s all yours,” Lynn said.

Taking work from concept to reality takes a lot of hard work. Weekly meetings to discuss their work plan continued for two years. The trio had to find financing, equipment and a place to set up shop. The group originally looked at a building in Huber Heights, but was unable to get an offer before selling it.

The group is happy that this happened because they say Xenia was the perfect setting for their project.

“The bike path is right there. There are really no other breweries in Xenia. Yellow Springs is probably the closest. The people here are great,” Hatfield said. Originally from Beavercreek, Hatfield lives in Xenia, so the proximity was an added bonus.

The name Devil Wind Brewing is a tribute to Xenia. Local legend says that the Shoni Indians referred to the area as “the place of the Devil’s Wind”. As most residents of the area know, Xenia was hit by an F5 typhoon on April 3, 1974, killing 33 people and injuring 1,300. The name proved perfect for the brewery—on the hurricane’s anniversary in 2018, a few days after opening, the sirens went off. during the storm.

“It was weird. He was so close when we opened. A hurricane hit the road,” Hatfield said.

The opening of the brewery was not entirely without problems. They put up half the money for equipment with a factory in Ohio. Hatfield said they wanted to buy American-made equipment. The equipment was due to be delivered in October 2017. In September, the company called and said it was out of business and that money was lost.

“We have struggled. We were supposed to open our doors in 2017. We found some equipment in stock that wasn’t exactly what we wanted, but it was available, so we bought it,” Hatfield said.

While this was a setback, the group found local plumbers and electricians who knew their situation and were able to charge for services rather than charging everything up front. The group said they helped build almost everything in the brewery except for the bar and bathroom frame. The opening date was finally set for March 30, 2018.

It was an immediate success. Hatfield said the brewery opened at 4 p.m., but there was a line around the building at 3:30. One of the main reasons why a brewery does so well is the surrounding community, as well as the popularity of brewing.

The name Devil Wind Brewing is a tribute to Xenia.

“People enjoy having a lot of styles [of beer] to try. Also, it’s just breweries in general. They have their own place to go. People love to go to a small company like this, a small company that makes a good product. “It’s also all about the environment,” Lin said.

The brewery has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. The atmosphere the night before Thanksgiving was relaxed and fun. People were eating, talking, singing, and enjoying the bands. The brewery is a perfect bar in Muscat with lots of regulars. Finding a friend is as easy as finding the perfect pour of beer or a stick of good whiskey.

“We’re not like a pub. You won’t come here on a Friday night looking for hateful drunk people. You won’t find fights. You’ll find people hanging out. It’s funny—they always say there’s six degrees of class. Here, there’s only about two,” Hatfield said. This is a great place to make connections.”

The brewery keeps in touch with the community through various events and fundraising. They recently helped start Xenia’s first Oktoberfest event. They work with schools, 4 Paws for Ability, and other special causes, including raising $1,400 for a regular client who has been in hospice care.

One thing Hatfield is proud of is selling products from other small businesses in the area. In addition to beer, the brewery offers plenty of locally made wine and whiskey. The full bar offers a selection of around 100 different whiskeys and bourbons. The local food trucks are outside the brewery almost every night. The Phatty Wagon has become one of the essential items in Devil Wind.

In addition to drinks and food, the brewery is known as a place to hear great music, with bands playing on weekends and open mic nights weekly. For Lynn, who graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Wright State University, music is a bonus. He and Wyatt play in the house band.

“The best thing about owning this place is that it combines two of my favorite things – beer brewing and music,” Lynn said.

On the rare occasion when no music is playing at a brewery, customers may be able to take part in a comedy show. The brewery also offers corn tournaments, music bingo, trivia nights, and a highly competitive shuffleboard league on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The shuffleboard table was among the first items they bought for the Devil Wind after they opened. A second shuffleboard table was recently added to help keep up with the demand for people who want to play in tournaments.

So what is the future of Devil’s Wind brewing?

Business development is the focus. Currently, the brewery is closed on Mondays so they can make beer. They also ferment during the other days of the week, but only up to the doors. Another priority is to make room for beer canning, which they started recently. This allows beer lovers to take a few drinks home. The presence of cans also helps expand the range of beer to markets outside of Xenia.

“We’re ready to take our next step. We want to move the tap room across the street to make room here for fermentation and canning. Or move the fermentation and expand the tap room we’re in,” Hatfield said.

April will be the brewery’s four-year anniversary and a celebration is planned. Plenty of bands and beer specials will be available.

Doug Lane ’14 is currently checking out a drink.

However, when it comes to talking about success, the conversation always comes back to beer. White, who is responsible for many of the finance and inventory charges, said the beer is top notch.

“My favorite part of working here is drinking this amazing beer. We have some of the best beers. We have a great customer base. We are a hidden gem,” he said.

Devil Wind Brewing, at 130 S. Detroit Street in Xenia, is open 4-10 PM Tuesday through Friday, noon until 10 PM on Saturday, and noon until 8 PM on Sunday. A list of events and food trucks can be found on their website at devilwindbrewing.com or on their Facebook page.

This article was originally published in the Spring 2022 issue of Wright State Magazine. You can find more stories on wright.edu/alumnimag

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