College roommates turned business partners Andrew Johnson and Kellan Monroe always talked about starting a brewery together. Less than a year ago, that dream turned into Columbia’s first craft beer store. Craft and Draft pours local and regional brews from 12 taps, rotating the lineup daily, and stocks more than 300 beers on their shelves. Customers can nip in to pick up a six-pack or spend some time drinking at the bar.
The Devine Street shop also has frequent events, partnering with breweries and other beer-centric companies. Their latest venture will take customers to Lancaster and Florence on the Columbia Brew Bus for tours and tastings at Benford Brewing Co. and Seminar Brewing on June 6.
Johnson and Monroe don’t rest much when the shop is closed; Johnson said they can often be found in the great outdoors, taking in a game or concert, and, of course, enjoying a beer.
“We love living here, love working here, love doing what we do,” Johnson said.
Eat: “Kellan and I both have our favorite restaurants, but we also have our favorite bars too. We frequent Thirsty Fellow and Publick House. If we’re feeling some beer and some wings, we go hang out. Always good atmosphere and good clientele.
“As far as going out to dinner, that’s something Columbia has done well … My wife and I have our favorite spots. We enjoy Bourbon a lot. I like Motor Supply (Company) and Mr. Friendly’s, and lately Baan Sawan Thai Bistro. … I love what they do. Anywhere in the Vista, really. My wife and I live in a condo off of Main Street, so it’s nice to be able to walk. We like Pearlz a lot. We go there to drink, go there to eat, to do pretty much anything.”
Drink: “We somehow end up at Uncle Louie’s every weekend. … World of Beer and Liberty (Tap Room) always have great offerings. The majority of beer there we usually have had (in the store) … I like the Kraken. I think they have 25 taps … They certainly hold their own in that regard.”
Play: “I’m outdoorsy, so anything outdoorsy. I ride my mountain bike around town and even out to Harbison (State Forest). When it’s really hot, I like to get out on my kayak in the river. Quick trips to Charleston not to do anything, just lay on the beach.
“I go to pretty much every sporting event at the university. I’m a season ticket-holder for football, basketball, baseball and women’s volleyball, of course. I’m a Braves fan and a Panthers fan, and I have season tickets for the Panthers.
“I don’t sit down at all. Once I wake up, I’m going somewhere, whether it’s to work or to do something else. Columbia is perfect for my lifestyle because it has the natural aspect. It gives me time to go out and be one with nature, but it’s also equidistant to the mountains and the ocean.
“I’m a river guy, but Kellan is a lake guy. He likes to hit the lake on the weekends; he’s a wakeboarder.”
Listen: “Kellan just got back from Hangout (Music) Festival in Alabama. He’s always going out to concerts and supporting local bands. A lot of concerts at the Music Farm. I’ve been to one or two myself, but he’s the music guy and I’m the sports guy.”
See: “We have such an array of museums and things like that to send (visitors) to, but I kind of try to do less touristy stuff. I have friends and family that come all the time from other towns. I’ll try to throw them on a bike or put them in a kayak. I like them to stop by (Craft and Draft), obviously. You can’t miss brunch at Cafe Strudel. I also like to try to walk around the State House and hit all the historical markers. Everywhere you look, you’re looking back in time.
“When strangers come in the store and ask what to do, I always answer their question with a question: ‘How much time do you have? How much time do you have to talk, and how much time are you here?’”
Amanda C. Coyne