Mike Donohoe has been brewing up plans for a bottle shop for the past several years, ever since he developed a passion and appreciation for craft beer.
He spent five years homebrewing and educating himself on the industry, while taking note of what he liked and disliked about bottle shops he visited. In putting together the business plan for Session Beer Market, Donohoe said he pulled ideas from the shops that left the best impression on him.
According to the company’s website, the term "session" is used in the beer world to indicate “a refreshing, balanced experience that allows you to have multiple beers, within a reasonable time period, without overwhelming your senses or reaching inappropriate levels of intoxication.”
Donohoe said while there is a focus on North Carolina beers, Session carries craft beer from across the country as well as some international labels. There are eight rotating taps as well as six coolers of individually priced beers that can be sold as singles or mixed six-packs. There also growlers, six-packs and larger format bottles.
Donohoe said he looked at more than a dozen locations, including in Hampstead, before he decided to open the shop in the Pine Valley area, at 3604 S. College Road. The former Liberty Tax location required some cosmetic renovations, as well as the installation of the draft system and coolers, a bar and custom-designed tables.
“In scouting locations, I felt that this area of town was underserved,” Donohoe said. “A thirsty pocket so to speak.”
Session Beer Market will host a grand opening celebration 5-11 p.m. Friday with raffles and live music from Kim Dicso. All taps will be dedicated to Wilmington breweries in honor of the grand opening.
“This is a fantastic beer community,” Donohoe said. “I’m looking forward to the continued growth and collaboration.”
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