Winston Salem - Craft beer shop finds a home in former Andrews Pharmacy store
Fran Daniel/Winston-Salem Journal
Stella Brew is a reflection of two of Matt Bostic’s passions — craft beers and disc golf.
The craft beer shop had a soft opening in September in the former Andrews Pharmacy store at the corner of South Hawthorne Road and Magnolia Street.
The pharmacy, a longtime fixture in the Ardmore neighborhood, had been at the same spot for 49 years. It moved in January just a few blocks away to a renovated building on Trenwest Drive.
Stella Brew – the name is a play on Grateful Dead’s “Stella Blue” -- offers more than 700 craft beers, some domestic beers, and a selection of wines. The retail business also has a disc golf shop inside the store.
Bostic, who owns the shop with his wife, Caitlin, describes himself as a beer geek.
"A beer geek is basically someone that likes to try a ton of different styles of beer from a ton of different breweries,” Bostic said. “They don’t like to limit themselves to a regular beer purchase.”
He uses the job title “chief imbibing officer” on his business cards.
Bostic grew up in Clemmons and is a graduate of the Walker College of Business at Appalachian University. He and his wife currently live in Winston-Salem.
He has been playing disc golf for 12 years.
"It’s a great sport that’s gaining in popularity,” he said. “It’s a great sport to teach kids. It’s a healthy outdoor activity.”
Prior to opening Stella Brew, he was a craft beer and wine distributor, where he learned the ropes of the wholesale side of the business, including merchandising and pricing.
His wife, a professional photographer, owns Caitlin Jamison Photography in Winston-Salem.
The couple received a lot of help from family members and Reaching Quiet, a construction design company in Charlotte, to renovate the former pharmacy building. Outdated tile has been replaced with a polished tile concrete floor. With the elimination of a drop ceiling, the space now has an exposed look. Prominent features include handmade steel and wood shelves and a handmade cash counter.
"We were going for that industrial look,” Bostic said.
He is pleased with his sales so far.
He has relied a lot on social media, including Twitter and Facebook, to get the word out about his store.
"We try every day to make a post about new arrivals,” he said. “Even before we opened, we were making posts during the upfit process. It kind of helped build some buzz.”
Stella Brew’s customers are primarily from the Winston-Salem area, but the shop is attracting people from all over, including a Pennsylvania man who visited the store on his way to a conference in Charlotte.
Susan Brewer of Winston-Salem checked out the store for the first time earlier this week.
She was happy to find that Stella Brew was well stocked with Cold Mountain beer by Highland Brewing Co.
"It’s a seasonal release and if you don’t buy it when it comes out, you don’t get it,” she said.
She was also happy to find The Crusher wine in the shop. She had hoped to give her husband, Adrion, a bottle of The Crusher last month on his birthday but could never find it.
"He’s getting his birthday present today,” Brewer said.
Will Britt of Winston-Salem has become a regular customer after just a few weeks.
He found out about the store from his mother.
"My mom knows I’m a beer geek, too,” he said.
When it comes to his local competition, Bostic said that the craft beers industry is not as cut-throat and competitive as some industries, that people trend to support each other.
"A good quote that I’ve heard, ‘It’s an industry where a rising tide tends to raise all ships,’” Bostic said.
He believes that “the more people that you can educate and turn on to craft beer, the more market share there is in general for everyone.”
He said he has always enjoyed shopping at City Beverage in Winston-Salem, saying that it was one of the first places he bought craft beer, but he wanted to do something a bit different.
For example, he said he tries to carry a big cold selection of beers in coolers.
And he has his disc golf merchandise.
"The disc golf kind of sets me apart,” he said.
Bostic loves the Ardmore neighborhood.
His goal is to be “a staple neighborhood craft beer shop that lasts as long as Andrews Pharmacy does.”