Craft Beer Cellar Is Coming to Fort Point This Summer
UPDATE, August 17: Craft Beer Cellar Fort Point opened this morning at 11 a.m.
Fort Point, the home of the best brewery and best beer program in Boston, is about to get an outlet of the region’s best craft beer store, too. Craft Beer Cellar will open a store on Farnsworth Street this summer.
“We’ve been eyeing Fort Point for a couple years,” Craft Beer Cellar cofounder Suzanne Schalow says. “It’s wholly up-and-coming. It’s right around the corner from Row 34; those guys are friends, and they do beer right. Trillium, too, are good friends, and we subscribe to their success at making great beer.”
While the ink isn’t dry on a lease quite yet, manager Barry Sussman is slated to appear before the Boston licensing board next week for the new, 1,400-square foot store. The space is currently Yada Yada, a Greek bakery and café. The owners of that family-owned business are retiring, Schalow says.
The store is on the same block as Bee’s Knees Supply Company, which sells craft beer among a plethora of other artisan provisions, and the Fort Point Market is nearby on Congress Street. Craft Beer Cellar differentiates itself by selling only craft beer; there aren’t any groceries—or nips, cigarettes, or scratch tickets in its franchises. The brand now crosses 10 states, with more coming down the pipeline.
“We’re not hoping to be anything other than amazing neighbors,” Schalow says.
Sussman, a financial accountant by day and a marathon runner, is a longtime Craft Beer Cellar customer and “beer geek,” Schalow says. The Fort Point store is his first job in the craft beer world. Schalow and her partners Kate Baker and Marla Yarid-De La Cruz will help him build up his beer knowledge to Craft Beer Cellar’s standards for franchisees. He is currently a Level 1 Cicerone certified beer server, and within a year, he will attain Level 2.
“We’re very hands on,” Schalow says. “There is a level of expectation: Craft Beer Cellar has amazing beer, amazing hospitality, and amazing education. That’s our trilogy.”
“Franchise” and “chain” are words she has had to “grow into,” Schalow says. That is what her company is, but to her, “we’re just beer geeks.” The model of a locally-focused, 350-plus beer selection, coupled with knowledgable staff and a flexible, single-bottle purchase policy lends itself to wide appeal.
In addition to CBC’s nine existing Massachusetts stores and the forthcoming one in Fort Point, Roslindale will open this summer (its location, in an historic, substation building, has led to some construction delays), and a Fenway store will debut late next month. Craft Beer Cellar is also “aggressively” pursuing a location in the South Coast region, Schalow says.
Craft Beer Cellar, opening summer 2016 at 34 Farnsworth St., Boston; craftbeercellar.com.