Local bottle shop pops the top on draft beer offerings

PortCityDaily.com is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Nearly a year after opening, bottle shop Hey!Beer has added a rotating draft beer menu for customers to sip while they shop. Courtesy photos.
Nearly a year after opening, bottle shop Hey!Beer has added a rotating draft beer menu for customers to sip while they shop. Courtesy photos.

A local bottle shop has tapped into the growing craft brew scene.

Nearly a year after opening up in midtown Wilmington, Hey!Beer has added eight draft pours to its already hefty selection of more than 400 single selections.

It’s a move owner Mike Duffy said he and his wife, fellow owner Kristy Gomez, have wanted to make since opening the shop in March. But, he added, the couple had to jump a few zoning hurdles with the city first.

While the taps are flowing at Hey!Beer, Duffy said that doesn’t make it a bar. They won’t be keeping pub hours and, he said, they didn’t even install additional seating to the store.

“It’s really just to augment the shopping experience,” Duffy noted. “This is not going to turn us into a hangout.”

It’s been a little less than two weeks since Hey!Beer began serving up drafts, and already customers are responding favorably, Duffy said.

“They like being able to have a beer while they shop,” he said.

Co-owners and married couple Kristy Gomez and Mike Duffy, who originally worked in the film industry, decided to settle down and open up shop in Wilmington.
Co-owners and married couple Kristy Gomez and Mike Duffy, who originally worked in the film industry, decided to settle down and open up shop in Wilmington.

While the offerings will constantly rotate–Duffy said there is “nothing that is a fixture,” the store’s draft beer menu will be in keeping with Hey!Beer’s mission to bring small batch and hard-to-find brews to Wilmington.

It’s one reason the couple opened up shop in the first place.

Gomez and Duffy, who both came from careers in the film industry, first met in Los Angeles in 2009 while working on “Star Trek.” After finding themselves apart frequently due to traveling film productions, the couple decided to relocate and pursue a business that would allow them to build a more stable future.

Gomez, whose first film credit was the locally filmed TV series “Dawson’s Creek,” suggested the Port City.

“We had the idea of opening this place, and she always had Wilmington in the back of her mind,” Duffy recalled.

Before coming to Wilmington in February 2014, the couple spent a year in Duffy’s homebase of Philadelphia, where he worked at a bottle shop to get more experience.

Now at the head of his own store, Duffy focuses on catering the beer experience to the customers’ preferences. At Hey!Beer, you can mix and match four- and six-packs–for a discount–pick up larger format bottles and growlers, or just take home a beer or two.

“That’s always the angle we’re most excited about. When new stuff comes out, people get excited…but there’s nothing worse than being excited about a beer and picking up a six pack and taking that first sip and realizing you don’t really like the beer,” he said. “A lot of our customers just come in two, three times a week to grab a few singles.”

For more information on Hey!Beer’s selections and rotating draft menu, visit the store’s website.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at hilary.s@portcitydaily.com.