Craft Centric takes fine brew and customer service to heart with a Taproom and Bottle Shop founded on the principle of providing guests with the best craft beer experience available. Owners Matt and Shannon Vaughan, along with manager Josh Austin, are super-passionate about beer. “We’re a team of beer-crazies, constantly sifting through the ever-growing array of craft breweries to bring you the very best,” Matt said. “Our slogan is Where Beer Matters, and we strive to help folks pick out the perfect beer to enjoy for themselves or for that special gift for a friend.”
On a visit to Asheville in 2006, the craft beer bug bit Matt hard, and he’s been a dedicated emissary ever since. “It was after a Brews Cruise tour that took us to French Broad Brewing, Highland Brewing, Asheville Pizza & Brewing and Bruisin’ Ales that I was hooked,” Matt said. “I was so impressed with the quality and variety of good beer in Asheville. I loved learning about the process and the people who made it! I really became engrossed in the beer culture and it's been my mission to travel and seek out the best breweries and boutique bottle shops to bring back the best beers from all regions of the country.”
Since diving headfirst into the craft beer arena, Matt has been working on credentials to up his game. “I've been educated by Cliff Mori, Asheville's first Certified Cicerone and have earned my Level 1 Certification in the Cicerone beer program,” Matt said. The word Cicerone (sis-uh-rohn) denotes professionals with proven experience in selecting, acquiring and serving today's wide range of beers. To claim the designation, one must earn the trademarked title of Certified Cicerone®.
Craft Centric partners with other small local businesses to plan events. “We’ve worked with Luella’s on a Wing and Beer pairing, we’ve had a Baked Pie & Beer pairing, and most recently we paired 4 Vortex donuts with 4 tasty beers,” Matt said.
In addition to the impressive selection of beers from near and far, Craft Centric brews its own one-of-a-kind brews through its other venture, Fermented Nonsense Brewing. “That’s a separate project started by Josh Austin and I. We are the smallest brewery in Asheville, brewing on a one-sixth barrel electric brew system one keg at a time,” Matt said. “Josh has owned a home brew supply shop in Brunswick, GA and has over six years of experience brewing a variety of styles. We want to focus on Hazy New England Style IPAs, Fruited Sour Beers, and Pastry Stouts. We want to stay relevant and brew fun and interesting small batch recipes with big flavor! We always want to be experimenting and pushing the boundaries of good beer!”
Craft Cetric’s “ideal customers” are everyone who loves great beer. “This can be someone new to craft beer and wants to learn,” Matt said. “Or someone who appreciates a local, original one-of-a-kind concept that is not a cookie-cutter franchise. We offer over 400 different varieties of beer. We stock a great selection of local brews from WNC Breweries such as Burial, Green Man, Highland, Hi-Wire & Bhramari, as well as some of the best beers from around the world. My furthest reaching and most unique brew is from Põhjala Brewery in Tallinn, Estonia.”
Sampling all those great beers can work up an appetite. Craft Centric serves up bar snacks to cure the munchies. “We have Roots Hummus and pretzels, a warm toasted pub pretzel stick filled with cheese, and pints of Chex-Mix,” Matt said. “Our next door neighbors just opened up Asheville’s first Poke Sushi restaurant, and soon there will be a Marcos Pizza franchise in our complex that can deliver right to our door.”
A visit to Craft Centric is more than just fantastic, exotic beer – it’s fun, too. “My lead bartender Dale and her boyfriend Lane host Trivia every Tuesday night at 7. We pick a pop culture topic such as Parks & Rec from NBC. Prizes include Craft Centric Gift cards, and breweries sponsor giveaways such as T-shirts, pint glasses and Koozies (wrap-around can coolers)!
Craft Centric has been getting it’s share of accolades lately. “Craftbeer.com voted us the #1 Craft Beer Bar for 2018,” Matt said with pride. “And Forbes.com voted us the Best Beer Bar as well for North Carolina. Also, Hop Culture Magazine voted us among the Top 5 New Bottle Shops for 2017.”
At times, Craft Centric has featured live music, and they intend to bring in more.
“We have had live music from a local percussive guitarist Scott Kendrick, who can really jam on the guitar,” Matt said, “and I’m working with Lenny Pettinelli from Empire Strikes Brass on booking some more gigs for Saturday nights.”
Do you want to take some great beer home for an intimate gathering? “We fill growlers of any size with draft beer to go,” Matt said. “We also have a Crowler Can Seamer which means we can fill a 32oz Crowler can of draft Beer for to-go sales. It’s recyclable, and you never have to worry that you forgot your Growler at home. We can also chill any can or Bottle in our shop in about 5 min with our custom chiller.”
So if you’re looking for a place to hang out with friends, Craft Centric is the place to be. “It’s an artfully designed bar and bottle shop with one of the best selections of hard-to-find beers from local breweries and the best from around the world,” Matt said. “We have one of the best-curated draft lists in Asheville, with 26 Taps and we focus on customer service, making everyone feel welcome and appreciated.”
Come into Craft Centric and bask in the Beer Wall’s awesomeness! Matt, Shannon, and Josh can’t wait to meet you!
Craft Centric Taproom & Bottle Shop
100 Julian Shoals Drive, Unit 40, Arden , NC 28704
(In the new shopping center on Long Shoals Road next to Bojangles)
Phone: 828) 676-0075
Sun - Mon: 12 noon to 8 pm
Tue - Thu: 12 noon to 10 pm
Fri - Sat: 12 noon to 11:30 pm
On the web: www.craftcentricbeer.com
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/craftcentrictaproom
On Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/craftcentrictaproom
On Incredible Towns: https://asheville.incredibletowns.com/all-listings/craft-centric-taproom-and-bottle-shop