Department: Continuing Education
Paul Slayton began brewing beer with his wife, Emily, and brother-in-law John.
“We learned about the amazing craft beer scene – especially in Chicago – a long time ago, and we fell in love with the beer and the culture pretty much instantly,” he said. “I come from a restaurant/bar management background, Emily from a marketing background and John from a financial background. So the three of us were pretty well primed to start a business of our own, and beer just made sense.”
The three took classes through the Siebel Institute, experienced the Colorado Boy immersion program and worked at a craft brewery in Frederick, Colo. They currently own the Skeleton Key Brewery in Woodridge, which offers a varied selection of craft beers. The brewery also brings in food trucks and offers live music on the weekends.
“We have brewed pretty much every beer we have ever made together, and that trend still continues today,” he said. “We love being able to offer well-crafted beer in a fun and comfortable setting to our customers, who mean a great deal to us.”
A big part of the brewery’s business is education, and Slayton teaches at Skeleton Key and in the Craft Beer program offered through College of DuPage’s Continuing Education department.
“We always wanted to help people get their foot in the door to the business of craft brewing, hence the name Skeleton Key,” he said.
Slayton enjoys working with students who share the same passion for craft beer and want to be a part of the industry. He is inspired by the many craft brewers in the area.
“I just hope that beyond the knowledge we impart to our students, they can take something away from our experience to make their journey into craft beer easier and fulfilling,” he said. “The community we have among craft breweries in our area is incredible! We share ideas, work on collaborations and always send customers to each other’s tap rooms to try new and interesting beers and meet amazing people.”