DAYTON — Greenville vodka distillery Delaplane Spirits will be featured at the Victoria Theatre Association’s Winter Brewster and Spirits tasting event at the Schuster Center in downtown Dayton. Other Ohio breweries and distilleries featured will include Belle of Dayton Distillery, Buckeye Vodka, Crooked Handle Brewing Co., Dayton Beer Company, Eudora Brewing Company, FigLeaf Brewing, Hairless Hare Brewery, Lock 27 Brewing, Lucky Star Brewery, Red Eagle Distillery, Rhinegeist, Stillwrights Distillery, Toxic Brew Company, Warped Wing Brewery, and Yellow Springs Brewery. The event will take place at the restaurant Citilites, which is located inside the Schuster Center, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, February 2.
Matthew Delaplane grew up in Greenville before moving to attend the University of Indianapolis, where he studied biology and chemistry. After graduating, he worked for several years as a contractor for Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lilly and Company. He came back to Greenville after his dad asked him to help out on the family farm.
“I didn’t mind working in corporate America, but I was getting kinda tired of it,” Delaplane said. “I was looking for something different, so I decided to come home.”
Delaplane said he was inspired to start his own distillery by the success of local craft breweries and wineries.
“I had watched how that industry was taking off, so I thought about getting into beer or wine,” Delaplane said. “But to me it seemed like the market was already saturated in those areas.”
It was his science background, according to Delaplane, that led him to open a distillery instead.
“I knew about distilling, the principles behind it, from my schooling, and I understood fermentation because of my biology background,” Delaplane said. “And I had a small barn on my family’s property that I could renovate, so I could start off small. For me it’s a way to stay here on the family farm and keep things going. Renovating and getting set up took several years, so I’ve actually been on shelves for about a year now.”
The vodka Delaplane Spirits produces is available at a number of local venues, including McMiller’s Carryout in Greenville, IGA stores in Versailles and St. Henry, Lawson Beverage Depot and State Liquor Store in Eaton, Vandalia Carryout, and Arrow Wine and Spirits in Dayton. In fact, it was while approaching representatives at Citilites about possibly carrying his product that he was invited to take part in the Winter Brewster event.
“I like to go to the theatre, so I’ve seen quite a few productions out there. I thought it was something their clientele might be interested in,” Delaplane said. “So I went in and asked who I needed to speak to, and things just sort of fell into place.”
Being fairly new to the industry, Delaplane is enthusiastic about taking part in the event.
“For me it’s pretty exciting, because I haven’t had any tastings yet,” Delaplane said. “This will be my first one.”
Delaplane’s hope is to eventually expand his new business into something he can make a permanent living from.
“I’ve got a little room to grow in the building I”m in now,” Delaplane said. “But I’d like to be able to look at expanding, maybe renovating another building. But that’s probably a little ways off.”