Cancer doesn’t deter Austintown couple’s bar dream

austintown, ohio couple opening bar

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Paladin Brewing in Austintown is putting the final touches on its tasting tavern and brews before opening this Saturday.

It’s always been a dream for the husband and wife owners, but just a few months ago, life had other plans for the couple.

John and Abby Chandler faced numerous hurdles in opening the business, but those were minor issues compared to an unexpected medical delay this summer.

They like craft beers, and wanted a different taste.

“Something that tasted different, maybe a little more depth of flavor than the others, and after a visit to Colorado, we realized they existed,” Abby said.

They couldn’t find that taste in Youngstown– so they started making their own beer in their garage– then thought about a brewing business.

“Just open this, only putting the weekends and evenings into it,” Abby said. “And boy were we wrong.”

They went all in, and a year and half later, they were close to the opening of Paladin Brewing, when John started having headaches that didn’t go away.

“Discovered it was, I had a large cancerous tumor in my sinus cavity, it was very large and it was actually pushing my eyeball out of my head,” Chandler said.

The news was crippling, but didn’t stop John from opening his brewery. Instead of eight beers he made four and had a 15 hour surgery at the Clevland Clinic this summer. When he woke up his life was different, but he was alive.

“Unfortunately, they had to take my eye, but because they took my eye, they were able to get all the cancer removed from my head,” John said.

Now the couple is working around the clock to get their dream ready for Saturday’s grand opening.

Family and friends are all chipping in, from putting chairs together to scrubbing the floors.

It’s kind of surreal for Abby.

“We still get to do this. We still get to open the brewery, we still get to live this dream, we still get to raise our family together,” Abby said.

“I’m going to open the doors at noon, and I hope someone walks in and says, ‘I want a beer,’ and I’m going to say, ‘What kind?'” John said.

It’s going to be a big celebration, a dream now a reality, a new chapter, cancer-free.

John made four beers for the opening: An American Blonde Ale, an American Pale Ale, and two IPAs.

As far as the brewery name, Paladin, John said finding a name that wasn’t registered was hard. He went through hundreds of names. He likes knights, and his kids were playing a video game. He saw a Paladin, he liked it, and the name was available.

Paladin is loacted at 6520 Mahoning Avenue, Austintown, Ohio 44515. The brewery has a website as well.

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