Craft beer comes to Johnston

CorrespondentDecember 30, 2013 

Steven Grantham pours a beer at his shop in Clayton.

AMANDA JAMES — ajames@newsobserver.com

— An award-winning home brewer has turned his passion into a business venture geared toward craft beer connoisseurs.

On Dec. 9, Steven Grantham opened the doors to Clayton Beverage Co., a specialty shop offering dozens of craft brews.

Grantham said such stores have become popular in larger cities, and he wanted to bring the concept closer to home.

“I just felt there was a need to have a selection other than what was available in the local grocery stores,” he said. “This has been a dream of mine for the past few years. I’ve always loved craft beer and thought I’d make a career out of it.”

Clayton Beverage Co. is located at 11679 U.S. 70 Business West in Clayton Corners shopping center. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Lining the shelves are beers from popular microbreweries such as Ballast Point, Bell’s Brewery, Dogfish Head and Founders Brewing Co. The styles are as varied as the breweries: IPAs, lagers, pilsners, porters, stouts and seasonal ales.

Customers may purchase individual bottles, mix four and six packs and even sample local offerings poured from six taps behind a bar at the front of the store. Drafts from Deep River Brewing Co. in Clayton and Double Barley Brewing near Wilson’s Mills were two of the featured selections on opening day.

“This is a good way for people to try out a bunch of different styles and flavors,” Grantham said.

Grantham is a self-taught brewer. His Bavarian-style Hefeweizen won second place in the 2012 N.C. Brewer’s Cup at the State Fair. It was his first and only competition, and his attempt fared well among the 33 professional and 144 amateur entries. Grantham concocted the recipe in the kitchen of his Clayton home after reading a book given to him by an uncle.

Stephen York of Clayton was one of Grantham’s first customers. Sipping a beer and watching sports highlights on a large flat-screen television, he heard about the shop by word of mouth.

“There is no other place around here like this,” York said. “It’s different, and I like it a lot.”

Grantham has taken a three-year lease on the corner store location and plans to expand his product line based on customer interest. Selections on tap will rotate often, and seasonal offerings will be available by the glass or bottle.

“When you love craft beer, you know where to find it,” Grantham said. “I can talk about beer all day long.”

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