MIDDLETOWN — Dan Lauro said he didn’t want to be sitting on a rocker when he was 80 years old wondering if he could have been a successful business owner.
“If I was going to do this, this was the time,” the 45-year-old said. “It was time to take the chance. I’d rather try and fail than not try.”
So Lauro purchased the brewing equipment and is leasing with an option to buy the building that formerly housed Rolling Mill Brewing Co. Lauro has named his business Gravel Road Brewing Co.
The brewery has been open for a few weeks, though the outside of the building at 916 First Ave. looks like it did when Joshua and Megan Laubach closed the business in September 2022 after five years.
Lauro, former head brewer at Carillon Brewing Co., said he has been awarded a $15,000 grant from the city of Middletown to make improvements to the business. He plans to install a ventilation system, paint the exterior of the 5,648-square-foot building and rebrand the business, he said.
With seven years of brewing experience at Carillon Brewing Co., located in Dayton’s Carillon Historic Park, Lauro believes he’s prepared to be a first-time business owner.
“I never was one who liked working for other people,” he said. “If I’m going to work 60-70 hours a week, I might as well work for myself.”
Rolling Mill Brewery Co. was Ohio’s only dedicated gluten-free brewery. Lauro said he will offer gluten-free beer, but also brew classic styles like cream ale, Kentucky common, and American pale ale.
Instead of immediately opening a kitchen, Lauro said he hopes to have a rotation of food trucks every weekend. BL Barbecue has committed to being on site when the food truck has available weekends, he said.
Lauro said the owners of N.E.W. Ales Brewing and Steel City Pizza, which recently opened on Manchester Avenue, have been “super supportive” of his business venture.
The name of the business — Gravel Road — comes from his background growing up in Northwest Ohio where his childhood farm had a gravel road.
When asked where he lived, Lauro said with a laugh: “A farm in the middle of nothing.”
HOW TO GO
WHAT: Gravel Road Brewing Co.
WHERE: 916 First Ave., Middletown
HOURS: 4-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday
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