Carolina Beer Guy: Craft Centric beer shop and taproom to open in South Asheville

CHEERS TO LONG SHOALS: Shannon and Matt Vaughan aim to open Craft Centric in South Asheville in mid-October. The business will include both retail packaged beer and a taproom.
CHEERS TO LONG SHOALS: Shannon and Matt Vaughan aim to open Craft Centric in South Asheville in mid-October. The business will include both retail packaged beer and a taproom. Photo courtesy of Matt Vaughn

A new beer business will open this fall in South Asheville, combining both bottle shop and taproom. Craft Centric is looking at a mid-October opening in a new ground-up development at 100 Julian Shoals Drive, next to the Long Shoals Bojangles. The owners are Matt Vaughan, a certified cicerone, and his wife, Shannon Vaughan, a registered nurse.

Craft Centric joins a growing South Asheville beer scene that includes breweries such as Thirsty Monk, Hillman Beer, French Broad Brewing and Sweeten Creek Brewing, as well as the Craft Room Growlers taproom.

Craft Centric won’t be in the growler business, Matt Vaughn says. The store and taproom will offer flights, half pints and full pints poured from 16 draft lines — 15 for beer, one for cider — along with a big lineup of packaged beer, cider and some wines and mead. Customers may assemble their own six-packs or 12-packs of brew from the stock. “I want it to be a hangout spot,” he says. “Craft beer people want to talk about beer.”

Craft Centric will have tables and a 21-foot bar, all of which Vaughan says will offer comfortable seating. The taproom will have light snacks, and though it will not offer prepared food, he’s hopeful that the property developer will attract a restaurant to the site.

Vaughan previously worked in medical equipment sales, but after he and his wife moved from Charlotte to Asheville in 2006, he started looking for a new occupation. He was an early passenger on the Brews Cruise brewery bus tour service and was soon hooked on craft beer. “I had been more into wine,” he says. “But I thought, ‘This is fun, this is cool, and this is interesting.’”

For a while, Vaughan considered opening a brewery but eventually abandoned the idea. “I don’t have the homebrewing background like some of the successful folks around,” he says. “I looked at the investment and didn’t think I could make a beer that would compete.”

Conversations with Chris Hunt, an Asheville native who now runs Good Bottle Co. in Charlotte, got Vaughan interested in opening his own bottle shop. Two years later, Craft Centric is nearly ready for guests, whom he hopes to attract predominantly from Asheville, Fletcher and Hendersonville. Raising the business’s appeal is a sizable parking lot, making it all the easier for customers who drop by for a draft beer or to grab some brew to take home.

Craft Centric will be at 100 Julian Shoals Drive, Arden. Look for updates on the Craft Centric Facebook page

Follow Tony Kiss on Facebook at Carolina Beer Guy and on Twitter at BeerGuyTK

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About Tony Kiss
Tony Kiss covers brewing news for the Xpress. He has been reporting on the Carolina beer scene since 1994. He's also covered distilling and cider making and spent 30 years reporting on area entertainment. Follow me @BeerguyTK

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