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When we opened our first store, just over nine years ago, we very much defined ourselves by the Brewer's Association definition of a craft brewer. At the time this seemed appropriate, though it's worth noting that the BA is a trade organization, intent on defining a brewer, not a craft beer retail bottle shop or tap room. As we grew and watched the very small industry around us grow, we realized that it was time we figured out who the heck we were.
Much of 2014 was spent hammering out our mission (and trinity): amazing beer, hospitality, and education! The first four years of our business, we didn't buy or sell beer that was brewed by those breweries that controlled the majority of the beer brewed in the world, breweries like AB-InBev, MillerCoors, and Gambrinus. Later that same year we made a decision to stop dividing ourselves from others, by what beer we bought and sold. We actually wanted to stop keeping score and let what was at our core be the shining star in our stores: really amazing beer!
So craft beer, to us, is incredible beer. It's that simple!
And no, you will not find macro-brewed beer, wine, cider, sake and liquor at Craft Beer Cellar, but don't be suprised if we carry or support a damned good beer that doesn't exactly have craft or artisanal ownership.
We are a craft beer bottle shop, whose primary focus has always been the best beer that we can get our hands on. We spend our lives in search of beers made in breweries just down the street or on the other side of the world, that are well-crafted and good examples of either their style or what we think excellent beer should be, keeping in mind that "style" is not everything. We are not snobs, we are beer geeks! We are students of our trade and take great pride in learning everything we can about beer; how it's made, what the ingredients are, what we should drink it from, and what food a beer pairs well or can be made with. We like to tinker with draft systems, tap faucets and kegs, and have been known to brew some pretty ridiculous beer, ourselves. We are your local good beer bottle shop and in many states, tap room, for on-premise draft service or sip-n-shop; craft beer isn’t just a section of the store for us! Many of our stores offer limited food service, as well as an extensive selection of books, glassware, homebrew supplies and other related merchandise.
As our industry has grown and changed so quickly in the past few years, around beer laws, distribution, brewing, and brewery tap rooms, with own-and-off premise sales, we've had to tweak our product sets, too. Some Craft Beer Cellar locations have stewarded larger wine sections and helped us understand and explore how this will become a more important aspect of what Craft Beer Cellar does. So far, we've enjoyed learning so much about grapes and tiny producers, blenders and vineyards across the globe. We've experimented with Biodynamic Wines and look forward to pulling together a company-wide wine philosophy and porfolio that we all can be proud of.
All beer geeks in all of our stores are Apprentice Beercierge or Cicerone® Certified Beer Servers. Store Owners are Certified Cicerone® and Certified Beercierge, by Craft Beer Cellar standard; many go on to obtain higher certifications. Rest assured that we have studied & researched every single beer in our stores, before we made a decision to put it on the shelf.
Our customers are the reason we exist and you should expect to be treated like you are important to us! We carry boxes to cars, make great eye contact, genuinely care how your day is going, and are not afraid to own our mistakes, if we screw something up. In addition to amazing beer and education, it is our goal to ensure you always have an unbelievable experience at any Craft Beer Cellar!
And yes, call us a Franchise if you like, because that’s what we are. But we are also a crew of independently owned Craft Beer Cellar stores. We are committed to driving the growth and awareness of craft beer (and other products) through hospitality, education and the exceptional products we choose to carry.
Mark Drutman, Lager & Ale Liaison
It's a labor of love, this whole craft beer thing.
Everyone has something in their life that they are dedicated to in an all-encompassing way, and my dedication is craft beer. If I wasn't doing it for Craft Beer Cellar, I'd be doing it for myself, calling your store and asking if you had a certain beer, waiting at a beer release, traveling to a new beer destination (which I still do regularly) or working with the newest new-school hop varietal on my kitchen stove. It's something I will never get sick of; it's always new and always exciting. It's always growing and changing - the industry and its culture is in a constant state of redefining itself.
I got into craft beer 15 years ago and never looked back. I've been in the industry for 13 years. I've worked in every side of the industry, held almost every job in it, and I've always been surrounded by great people, ideas and places. Every day we take that experience to try and bring you the best possible craft beer store and experience we can possibly provide. I also love answering homebrew questions.
I'm so proud to be a part of this store and this movement - thanks for loving good beer!