(Photo by Kathy Tran)
Craft Beer Cellar is bringing beer bliss to LakewoodThe Advocate - Emily Cherrier
Casa Linda resident Jim Waskow and his partner Stan Nauman are living the post-recession American dream. After years in the corporate world, Waskow at Sherwin Williams and Nauman at General Electric, they hung up their suits to pursue their real passion: beer.
Friends since they were students at Newman Smith High School in Carrollton, the pair has been interested in beer their whole lives, so they decided to make it their profession. Last year, they opened Craft Beer Cellar, the first Texas franchise for the East Coast chain, and have been serving up the suds ever since.
“We’re just a couple of corporate guys looking to do something fun,” Waskow smiles. “On our worst day, at least we’re working with beer.”
The business model is part specialty beer shop, part taproom. On the shop side, customers have hundreds of styles of beer to peruse and can mix-and-match their own six-pack. Craft Beer Cellar specializes in rare and European brews, but if you don’t see the one you want, just ask. They’re happy to order it for you. On the tap side, there are 16 beers on draught, which are switched with a new brew every time a keg runs dry.
“We do have one tap dedicated to German beers and another for Belgium beers,” Nauman says.
The partners consider themselves a bottle shop first and say 70 percent of the business is retail shoppers, versus customers who belly up to the bar. They also offer growlers for those who want to take fresh beer home.
The shop regularly offers beer education events, inviting in brewers from all over the world to talk suds and offer samples. On April 7, attend the free beer-and-cheese pairing with Real Ale Brewing Company, or come down April 14 when Founder’s Brewing releases its cult-followed KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout for those not in the beer-know).
While getting the business off the ground took longer than either Waskow or Nauman imagined, now that it’s up and running, they’re thrilled with the first six months. “It’s a chance to enjoy coming to work for the first time,” Waskow says. “That’s a welcome change.”
Did you know: Stan Nauman collected beer cans as a child, which he tucked away at his parents’ home for decades. When he opened Craft Beer Cellar, he fished them out to decorate the shop.