Crafted Drafts is a beer store located at 5245 North Hamilton Road in Columbus, Ohio and is owned by Mike Troy.
People who walk into the store will see beers alphebatized by brewery on the left and strategically separated by styles on the right (as seen by the key below).
In the middle there’ll be thought-out displays of beers for you to choose from. For example, you might find a pilsner display in the middle, but one side of the display represents the original method of brewing a pilsner and the other side represents new brewing methods of the same style of brew that are currently trending.
There are also portions of the store with beers exclusively brewed in Ohio.
So how did this idea come about?
Mike Troy, owner of crafted drafts explains his experiences buying beer before Crafted Drafts:
I was that guy standing at a bottle shop…Just staring…You needed to know beer very well to find anything.
Crafted Drafts even does some explaining of their brews before you even walk into the store on their Instagram page @crafteddrafts that was rated as the top account for Columbus booze by Drink Up Columbus.
Troy recalled trying various craft beers “for the last 20 years”. He described how his palate for beer has changed at certain stages and has evolved over time. He explained how his experiences with beer can be put into action with guests in the store:
I know what they’re saying because I’ve gone through all those those stages…We wanna create an environment here where you can ask whatever you want.
Troy realizes there’s more to it than just knowledge. It’s about “listening” to the people who walk into the store:
If you don’t know what they (customers) like or you don’t care what they like, then what sets you apart from anywhere else you can get beer?
Troy also had plenty of high praise for all the employees and made it clear everybody’s essential to the overall success:
That’s the beauty of this place. It’s not just me. It’s the way we train our people.
Crafted Drafts isn’t just a store with 750-plus beers. They also have beer tastings. Most of the time it’s from other craft brewers throughout the country, but sometimes Mike gets a chance to host one. The tastings have blown up recently and the store has one or two per week scheduled for multiple months ahead.
However, what makes Crafted Drafts most unique, and more than an extremely convenient and friendly place to find beer is the rare selection of brews readily available. I asked Mike to explain the mantra of “where rare is common” that the store uses. Here’s what he had to say:
Some super-hyped beer, something that everyone’s heard about but just can’t get…It can make it rare, but there’s more to what makes a beer rare. Pinching distribution to make a beer rare even though 10,000 bottles were made isn’t truly rare whereas limited distribution on a beer that only had 2,500 bottles made is genuinely rare. That’s why we say where rare is common, because we specialize in those oddities that are very few in number but so delicious. Most people don’t even know what those beers are because there weren’t enough made to create any hype at all.
I decided to try something out of my comfort zone when I went in and was thoroughly impressed with the sour beer that Mike hand-selected for me to try out that was in my price range.
That’s what Mike Troy strives for with everybody who comes into the store:
I want them to have a great experience that makes them excited about beer the way that we’re excited about beer.
If you’re wondering what new brews are available at the store here’s a link for you.