The Long Beach shop is a throwback to the days of local stores — with a hipster edge.
When Dawn Nadeau and partner Patrick Homa were visiting Nadeau’s parents in Traverse City, Mich. in 2013, they spent much of their time visiting the picturesque area’s unique, hidden gems of restaurants, craft breweries and artisan foods stores.
They were so impressed they decided to figure out a way to bring these epicurean delights back to Long Beach, Calif., where life is much more hectic than serene Upper Michigan.
In 2014, they opened a 1,200 square-foot craft brewery bottle shop that not only carries American-made beer and hard ciders but a variety of sodas, food and snack items that are all American-made. The beer changes constantly depending what is new on the market, but many of the other items on sale are a throwback to days when American cities featured regional products.
With the entire United States to source its products, you will find nothing imported at the aptly named Stateside Crafts.
“It seemed that an American independent craft bottle shop was the way to go,” said Homa, the general manager of Stateside Crafts. “There were enough breweries out there to warrant such a thing. San Diego alone has some 150 odd craft breweries, and then you’ve got L.A. County and Orange County — not to mention the rest of the country.
“And that sort of just carried into the kind of other products we sold as specialty food products. The concept was there was enough great product to choose from locally that we would keep all our items Made in America, and preferably made locally. It’s not local focus just for the sake of being local, but we look for the best. It’s not limited to local. We have beer from Maine, New Hampshire. We pick whatever we feel is American quality.”
Nadeau and Homa opened their storefront operation in a section of Long Beach known as Bixby Knolls. Once a dying commercial business area, Bixby Knolls has become an uptown location revitalized for nightlife, food and fun. And, of course, craft beer tasting.
On the first Friday of each month, Bixby Knolls is a popular attraction for people from Long Beach and the surrounding areas.
“On First Friday we have all the stores open on Atlantic Avenue,” Homa said. “Everyone comes out to support the businesses and everyone’s door is open. We have vendors that come and give out samples of specific products that we have. It’s like a street atmosphere. There are live bands playing on the streets.”
In addition to the more than 250 bottled craft beers available at Stateside Crafts, the store features a first-class tasting room.
It’s always a full house in the Stateside Crafts’ tasting room on First Fridays where patrons are treated to the hand-picked craft-beer selections of Homa.
“It’s a legitimate tasting room and the interesting thing about our tasting room is you don’t choose the beer, it is chosen for you,” said Homa, who is the purveyor of American hops. “People kind of get in the habit of giving up not making the choice themselves and they open themselves up to discovering new things. Our tasting room is truly about discovery and finding interesting new things.”
It's not local focus just for the sake of being local, but we look for the best… We have beer from Maine, New Hampshire. We pick whatever we feel is American quality. Patrick Homa, general manager of Stateside Crafts
There are approximately more than 4,500 craft breweries in the United States, so urban-area patrons are never far away from experimenting with the latest beer concoctions. But the expert, personalized service and multiple varieties of beer ranging in price from $5 for $55 (depending on bottle size) make Stateside Crafts a standout in its field.
“Doing things on a smaller level in a small shop focusing on customer service and focusing on great products makes us stand out,” Homa said. “Usually craft beer you find at liquor stores and Costco and warehouse places like Total Wine. But you really don’t have the staff that knows anything about the beer. These places are really just a dumpster for distributors.
“To have a chosen curated selection is something that really hasn’t been done. And I think that’s what carves out our little niche. We have more of a museum of beer than just a liquor store. Our place is always changing.”
Among those changes are the addition of soda and food items that, even though they are made in the U.S.A., are not always easy to find at your average grocer or specialty store. Stateside Crafts sells rare brand cheeses, meats, pickles, coffee, potato chips and nuts. They have just one distributor who services its real sugar soda inventory, providing only independent American craft sodas.
“A lot of them are old school, things you remember from your childhood,” said Homa. “We have stuff like Faygo (Detroit) and people come in from out of town and the first thing I am seeing is they are shocked that we have something from their childhood.
“It’s all American-made. It’s really, really awesome or it doesn’t go on our shelf. That’s the prerequisite of getting into our store. It has to be American-made. It was a conscience decision. The name of our shop is Stateside Crafts so it has to be made stateside.”
If you are not in the Long Beach area, Stateside Crafts will ship its American-made craft-bottled beer, farmhouse ciders and artisan foods to most parts of the United States. Visit the website and place your order.