Let’s Talk Shop
I love hanging out at bottle shops, drinking quality libations, and interacting with a diverse and intelligent group of craft beer fans. Raleigh is home to several, including Bottle Revolution, Crafty Beer Shop, Ridgewood Wine and Beer, and Tasty Beverage (check out the NC Beer Guys for an in-depth map if you’re interested in seeing them all). Each shop is different in its own right – whether you’re looking for a particular beer, atmosphere, or just something close to work or home.
Situated close to the corner of Glenwood Ave. and Duraleigh Rd., House of Hops is the newest addition to the Raleigh craft beer scene. Open only for a few weeks, the shop is quickly emerging as a local hotspot with 24 rotating taps. Owner Keith Bowler was kind enough to sit down and offer Hop Off the Press an exclusive (haha) on his new store and interest in craft beer.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m married with three children. I’ve been self-employed for approximately 10 years and have about 20 years of corporate sales experience.
What got you into craft beer?
I enjoyed hanging out with my business partner, Gary Holt, at local bottle shops and discussing various craft beers. It’s an enjoyable environment with an interesting group of people who have a passion for craft beer. My wife, Ronna, and I would try to visit at least one brewery whenever we traveled and it just became a fun hobby.
So what’s the inspiration behind House of Hops? How did you settle on the name?
We kicked around several names and once we found the location at 6909 Glenwood Ave. we really felt like it had a feeling of being home. Several of us were throwing names into the mix and somehow House of Hops came out. We wanted to create a feeling of being at home with family and friends while enjoying the experience of craft beer.
Why did you start a bottle shop? What will set you apart from the others?
My business partner, Gary Holt, was the driving force with getting the concept moving forward. We’ve always enjoyed going to local bottle shops and trying new craft beer and thought it would be an enjoyable business venture. House of Hops is 2,500 sq. ft. which is larger than the typical bottle shop. We have a custom made bar and draft system along with an outdoor venue that allows customers to enjoy good weather while playing ping pong and corn hole. We have 24 draft beers on tap that are constantly rotating. We not only represent North Carolina breweries but many breweries throughout the country that you don’t typically see in the Raleigh market.
What we’re striving to accomplish at House of Hops is to create an environment in which our customers feel welcomed. We want to understand our customers craft beer taste and match up the product that best fits their profile. Gary and I both want our customers to feel comfortable and attempt to solicit recommendations on what craft beer products they would like us to stock. The most rewarding feedback is when customers bring their friends and family back to House of Hops because of the enjoyable experience they had.
How does it feel to be a part of the growing craft beer scene in Raleigh?
It’s an exciting industry to be a part of. We’re constantly learning from our customers and distributors. There is an unusual passion that you don’t see in other industries.
What beer are you most excited to sell or have on tap?
This is a question we face every day. Since we rotate products out so frequently there is always an exciting new product that’s on tap. I enjoy the tremendous variety of beer that’s available. We can provide multiple products that will fit just about anyone’s taste profile. I’m looking forward to some of the the unusual fall seasonal products that are starting to come out as well as the pumpkin based craft beers.
What else do you want people to know about your business?
We’re just extremely humbled by the response that we’ve received from our customers. The positive feedback has been encouraging and we’ve truly enjoyed the relationships established in only a few short weeks. I’m excited about the future of the business, but even more excited about meeting quality and interesting customers.
What’s in your glass right now?
Bison Organic Honey Basil!!!