The Swampscott store will sell regionally brewed beer, other beverages, chocolates — and beer soap.
About 20 years ago, Joe Nunnari’s in-laws gave him a home brew kit as a Christmas gift.
“I didn’t know a whole lot about beer, but soon learned all about the craft after brewing a few good batches,” the Swampscott resident said.
“I brewed some bad ones as well,” he added with a chuckle.
Little did he realize it at the time, but that gift sparked an idea that would take two decades to ferment. Last month, Nunnari and his wife, Kim, became the new owners of Craft Beer Cellar Swampscott on 450 Paradise Road.
When CBC Swampscott opened in February 2016, Nunnari was its first hire. Eighteen months later, when the opportunity to purchase the franchise arose, he jumped at the chance.
“Being an employee here first for a year and a half has certainly helped being able to move into the ownership position,” he said.
Although the store carries ciders and some wines, it focuses on retailing craft beer from local breweries, such as Notch and Old Planters, as well as a curated selection of regional and international breweries. “Craft beers are higher-end beers. Small brewers make these beers in small amounts. They are not mass produced, so they don’t have that mass-produced taste,” Nunnari explained.
Like all CBC Swampscott employees, Nunnari is a Cicerone Certified Beer server, ensuring that his customers receive knowledgeable answers to their questions.
Although he and Kim have only owned the shop for a month, they’ve already made significant changes. They have added a larger selection of beers — including 12-packs — as well as chocolates made by CB Stuffer, a Swampscott company, and hot sauces and marinades supplied by a central Massachusetts vendor.
The most exciting beer-related merchandise, however, is Kim’s homemade beer soaps. A retired registered nurse, she has been making soap for almost 10 years, selling them at farmer’s markets and craft fairs.
“You can use any solution for the liquid when you make soap, so I started using still beer because it was on hand,” she said. “It gives a different quality to the soap, making it a little more lathery and bubbly.”
She gave them as gifts to her family and the response was so positive that the couple is now retailing them at CBC Swampscott.
Nunnari also plans to host beer tastings classes to help people increase their awareness and knowledge of “great tasting beer.” “I love talking beer with our customers, and I’m looking forward to continuing to do that,” he said.
Nunnari credits his previous careers with providing experience that help in his new venture. He spent 20 years in the airline catering business and seven years as a quality control manager in a high-end bakery production plant. “Both places were 24/7 operations that required a lot of my time. Both jobs definitely helped pave the way for my being a business owner,” he said.
Although Kim doesn’t officially work in the store, her husband recognizes that they are very much a team. “To say that she has been a huge help in getting the changes underway would be an understatement. I wouldn’t and couldn’t have done it without her,” he said.
Gesturing at his store and the beautifully displayed merchandise, he beamed. “It’s great to have an idea and be able to run with it,” he said with a proud smile.
For more information, visit swampscott.craftbeercellar.com or call 781-715-8495.