A unique craft beer concept from Boston is breaking into the Dallas market, with a store opening in the center of Lakewood. Called Craft Beer Cellar, it's a bottle shop with a big selection of beers, along with a growler bar on the side.
Owners Stanley Nauman and James Waskow have been friends since high school (Newman Smith High School in Carrollton, represent), and decided to bust out and do something new. They've nabbed a great location in the former Papa John's space on Gaston Avenue, with an opening penciled in for late summer.
In addition to its focus on stocking the best beer, CBC also works to ensure that its staff is informed about its merchandise, from ingredients to glassware to food pairings. All staffers are, at minimum, cicerone-certified beer servers or have been schooled to judge beers. Many go on to obtain higher certifications. At the Dallas store, Waskow is already a certified cicerone, while Nauman is currently working on his certification.
"We're not angel investors — this is our business, and we are going to be on-site every day," Waskow says. "We're all in, living the life and working in the store."
The two both had more traditional jobs — one working for a paint company, the other in the oil and gas industry — when they started getting into beer. Nauman was living in Denver when Waskow began to attend the Great American Beer Festival every fall. Attending together became an annual tradition.
"I'd already left my job, and Stan began dropping hints that he might leave his job as well," Waskow says. "I never believed him until he actually did, and we decided to go in on this venture."
Craft Beer Cellar opened its first store in Belmont, Massachusetts, at a time when the craft beer world was beginning to see great change. Each store has a highly personalized profile that fits its neighborhood and local laws. A typical location might feature 400 unique beers. The Dallas shop will also have a growler station, with 16 taps for beer to go. They'll have local and Texas beers, but also a lot of national labels and beers from Europe.
"If it's good beer, we want to have it," Nauman says.
While greater Dallas can boast a few growler spots, there are none in that particular area, other than the Whole Foods Market up the street at Abrams Road, which, being a supermarket, is a different kind of experience.
Their remodel of the space is already underway. They've stripped back some of the drywall to uncover portions of original brick that will add character to the interior. There'll be refrigerated cases along the back, and a small bar with a few seats for those who want to sit down for a glass. But the emphasis will be on beer to go.
"I would be driving on Gaston and think, 'There's nothing specific like this,'" Waskow says. "We like the dense neighborhood and the vibe of this part of town. We knew we wanted to be here."