Craft Centric: Bringing the South Slope Feel to South Asheville
While a trip to Belgium in high school may have been a foreshadowing of Matt Vaughan’s love for craft beer, it wasn’t until he took a Brews Cruise tour many years later that is all started to click for him. “I have to admit I had some amazing beers in Belgium, but I was still young and had no idea as to what I was drinking. I do remember thinking that it tasted better than what I had back in the U.S. I hope I can go back again someday,” says Matt Vaughan.
Matt and his wife Shannon are hoping to open Craft Centric Taproom & Bottle Shop by late October/early November. The new 1,500 square foot store will feature an extensive craft beer inventory with mix and match options. In addition, the new shop will include a bar with 16 taps and seating for 45. I spent an hour or two last week talking with the two of them about their new taproom and bottle shop. And I was lucky enough to be their first “unofficial of course” guest at the bar. Looking around the future taproom one can already see the framing and according to Matt the drywall should be going up any day now.
Matt, a level one Cicerone with some home brewing under his belt, will undoubtedly be able to provide the product knowledge that some beer lovers want. Chatting with him during my visit it quickly became evident that he’s a veritable who’s who when it comes to beer, brewers, and the local brewing industry. “This is all a dream come true for me and I am excited to offer the South Asheville area a true craft beer bottle shop and tap room. I really would like to bring some of that South Slope Asheville energy to South Asheville. Having the 16 taps will hopefully make this more of a destination rather than folks just coming in to grab and beer a go. Of course, we’ll offer that experience as well. We want customers to feel comfortable enough to stay as long as they want.”
“Matt has always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” remarks Shannon. “We were fortunate to have been able to travel the past few years and visit some of the epic breweries like Russian River and Stone. We loved going to breweries, bellying up to the bar, and chatting with the other guests. I think Matt wanted to bring back that type of experience to Craft Centric,” she adds.
“That is exactly what I was after! But keep in mind I don’t think I would have been able to do it without the support from Shannon. In addition, I had a ton of help from Christopher Murrey and Kelly Foster at Mountain Biz Works. They helped me secure both the capital and the loan to proceed. Also, Adam Charnack and Chris Frosaker (or Hi-Wire Brewing) were a tremendous help, with everything from equipment to real estate connections.”
What are some other things we can expect to see at Craft Centric?
“We’ll have some unusual artwork. I am having a piece commissioned by a local artist that I am super excited about. We’ll have some large screens – one for our beer tap menu, one for sports, and we’re not sure what we’ll play on the third screen. We’ll offer some type of light food options and potentially a food truck on occasion, but are still working out the details of all that. And when it some to beer, we want to focus on well-rounded, interesting beers from the around our region and around the world. For the non-beer drinkers, we’ll have one cider on tap, and will have a small selection of wine in the bottle shop.”
Craft Centric Taproom & Bottle Shop is located at 100 Julian Shoals Drive, Unit 40 (Just off Long Shoals Road, not far from Biltmore Park Town Square) in Arden, NC. While their website isn’t live yet, you can like them and track their progress on the Craft Centric Taproom and Bottle Shop Facebook Page.