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When Passions Get Tapped

How Warped Wing Brewers Fell in Love With Their Craft

For sure, John Haggerty was going to be an architect.  After graduating from Miami University in 1991 with his degree in Architecture, he was about to embark on his dream career.  Or was he?

Things first got a bit off track when in a moment of “what’s next.” A professor suggested Seattle.  “I think you’d like Seattle,” the prof encouraged.

Haggerty, a home beer brewer at the time, landed a job at Seattle’s Big Time Brewery & Alehouse.  And the rest, as the cliché goes, and just like Orville and Wilbur Wright, is Dayton history.

Honing his craft, Haggerty did stints at breweries in Wisconsin and Minnesota, among others.  Eventually, he desired to move from “pub brewer to production brewer.”

Flash forward to 2014, when together with Joe Waizman, Mike Stover, and Nick Bowman, the Warped Wing Brewing Company was founded.  With a nod to Dayton history, the name of the company is inspired by the Wright Brother’s patented invention of “wing warping,” a clever wing mechanism based on bird dynamics designed to keep the plane stabilized.

The crew at Warped Wing come from varied, and even surprising backgrounds, like Fred Pallant, a structural engineer, and Doug Camfield, an Independent Contractor with NASA, to name a few. The common thread: brewing great beer. “The process itself is what’s exciting for us,” Camfield says.  “It’s always a learning process.”

Warped Wing stokes its warm and friendly ambience by encouraging employees to bring their families into the taproom and interact with the customers. “I want them to bring their mom and dad in here,” Haggerty says of the crew.  “I want them to be proud of where they work.”

These days, Warped Wing has evolved to two owners: Haggerty and Bowman.  And as far as the craft beer craze, Haggerty foresees no end in sight. This is true especially for the small upstart breweries and restaurants that brew their own beer.  

For their part, this upcoming June, the company will open the Warped Wing Brewing Company Barrel Room & Smokery at Wright Station in Springboro. The 20,000-square-foot distribution center will include a taproom, eatery, outdoor biergarten, a 400-barrel aging space, a “test-pilot” brewery, as well as canning and packaging facilities.

Meanwhile, Haggerty occasionally takes time from his busy schedule to give talks at schools encouraging students to discover a career path centered around what they love.  Then, once you’ve found what you want, no matter where you start on the ladder, take responsibility and strive to constantly add new skills to your repertoire. Eventually, the money will come. 

“At the end of the day you don’t go to work for the money,” Haggerty says.  “So, like what you do.”

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