Columbia has a resurgence of a love for craft beers with breweries popping up across the city in the last few years. One of the staples is Craft and Draft on Devine Street. Andrew Johnson and Kellan Monroe opened the business in 2014. Today it’s become one of Columbia’s premier craft beer markets and taprooms, with 12 taps that rotate daily and about 300 beers to browse in their market. Consider stopping in the next time you’re thirsty for a cold one.
Q. For the people that don’t know you, tell us more about how Craft and Draft got started.
Andrew Johnson: Kellan and I are college friends turned business partners. We graduated from the University of South Carolina’s School of Engineering and Computing in 2007 and we originally intended to open a brewery, but after much discussion we decided it would be better to open a bottle shop. We began looking for locations in April of 2013 and settled on our Devine Street location about a year later.
Q. How do you feel about the beer scene in Columbia?
A. We love the beer scene here, and it’s still growing. Since we’ve been in business, we’ve seen the scene morph from three breweries and taproom to now 12 breweries and several specialty beer shops. The industry is still adding customers on a monthly basis, so there’s certainly room to grow for all of us. A diverse beer scene is key to growing the industry, and Columbia breweries have certainly held their own in that regard.
Q. What is your advice for first-time craft beer drinkers?
A. My best advice is don’t be intimidated. Beer is diverse and exciting, and drinking it should be, too. We’ve done our absolute best to create a safe and comfortable environment for everyone who walks in our door. So come in, pull up a seat and get let’s get to know each other.
First-time beer drinkers are always my favorite customer because they’re new and malleable. With a brief conversation, I can usually pick the styles I think they’d like and then allow them to sample some until we’re successful. Then, with each visit, we slowly introduce new and different styles until we’ve found something we know they’ll like.