On a recent trip to Boston and the surrounding area I was keen to hit up some of the more sought-after breweries like Trillium and Lamplighter, but also a few places that were fundamental to the still-underdeveloped scene in the area, like Cambridge Brewing and the business of today's guest, Suzanne Schalow of Craft Beer Cellar.
Suzanne was the voice in the desert for awhile in Belmont, a short drive from the city, in a commuter town that has a lot of questions about craft beer when she and her partner Kate first opened their doors 16 years ago. Fundamental questions that we're all still trying to answer in different ways, like, "What is craft beer?"
And earlier this year, as Suzanne lead the business into a national franchise model, she encountered a few unknowns, like how to talk about and manage quality with her franchisees—and who makes a decision about quality. It seems simple in many ways that a retailer would have a strong point of view in their curation process, but like defining craft, defining quality presented a host of issues as well.
So speaking with Suzanne and her new brand manager John Thompson, it was clear that while we were at the end of one long phase of the Craft Beer Cellar's story, a whole new chapter was about to begin.