Hop Head

Ever since his college days, it’s been full speed ahead in the beer business for Dan Baumiller 06.

Dan Baumiller

We first sat down to have a beer with Dan Baumiller ’06 at his Full Tilt Brewing taproom last winter, which seems like a lifetime ago. So we thought it was important to check back with him to see how the brewery is doing during the pandemic. The Q&A below is from June. The story that follows was written in February.

Q:  How would you describe the brewery’s momentum before the coronavirus pandemic? 

A: We had a tremendous boost in momentum from a concert and beer release we hosted with the band All Time Low on January 26, and we were booking several musical acts for beer collaborations and show events throughout 2020. Now, the entire calendar is in serious question for the remainder of the year, as we don’t know when we’ll be allowed to host concerts again.  

Q: How crushing was the shutdown for you from a business standpoint?

A: The shutdown in March was terrifying. It was issued right before several huge events that we had scheduled, including our “Full Tilt Fest” and “Artworks Uncorked & Untapped with MPT.” We had no clue how we would stay afloat and pay our bills. Our business model is predicated on serving customers in the taproom and with that gone, we saw a serious hit in revenue. 

Q: What’s the status of the brewery now?

A: We have pivoted as best we can by packaging our beers in cans to sell to-go and via delivery. The beer delivery has seemingly saved our business or, at the very least, kept a dozen or so people employed. With the delivery option available to us and some really successful/trendy beers that we have developed during the pandemic, we feel that we have built up a stronger name for Full Tilt Brewing. We’re entering the reopening phases in accordance with the governor’s directives and we are hopeful that individuals feel safe enough to come out to bars and taprooms again. 

Q: What does the future hold for Full Tilt?

A: We are hopeful that we can continue to be a pillar of the Homeland community through the taproom. Beyond that, we are hoping to build on the success of our packaged beers that we produced during the pandemic and deliver beers directly to the consumer for as long as it is allowed by the government. We hope to get the music program back up and running. We absolutely love incorporating local artists into our business. 

After he turned 21, Dan Baumiller regularly made the roughly one-mile trek south on York Road from TU to Wells Discount Liquor, where he bought whatever craft beer was on sale. The purchases turned out to be a most unlikely investment in his future. 

Today, Baumiller is a co-owner of Full Tilt Brewery, located about a mile south of Wells on York Road. Housed in an old Chevrolet dealership, it’s one of the newest—yet oldest—players in Baltimore’s ever-burgeoning beer scene. 

Baumiller began home brewing a few years after he graduated from TU, and in 2012 he and his cousin started Full Tilt. In those early days, its signature Hops the Cat IPA (and other varieties) were brewed on a contract basis at Peabody Heights in Baltimore’s
Waverly neighborhood.  

 “The scene was ready for more local beers, so we exploded out of the gate and had a lot of success,” he says. “Ultimately we always wanted to have our own spot.”

That dream came true when they opened the brewery and taproom in 2018. It’s been a whirlwind for Baumiller, 35, who still works full time as a civilian contract specialist for the U.S. Navy and has three young children with his wife, Lindsay Horner ’08.

“Like anything you do it’s been more work than you could ever imagine. That’s life,” says Baumiller. “But it’s been great. We’ve been thrilled with the community support that we get from around here.”