Right across the street from Veteran’s Park in Norwalk is the Liberty Square Plaza. Nestled in that small shopping center is the independent liquor store Ninety 9 Bottles. Actually, calling it a liquor store is wrong, it’s a beer store.
This small, unassuming store does sell spirits and wine but it is a beer lover’s dream. If you’re into the smaller breweries, the rare brews, and the non-Bud Lights of the world, you’ll dig Ninety 9 Bottles.
When you walk in, the beer enthusiast in you will make a mad dash of sorts right to the refrigerators on the right hand side of the store that hold beer you’ve heard of and some that you will surely be curious about. The back countertop and shelves are no different. You could spend all day checking out the labels of all the different types of beer back there. Breweries like Dogfish Head, Captain Lawrence, Allagash, Brooklyn, Southern Tier, and many others are on display. Ales, stouts, pilsners, lagers, IPAs, you name it, Ninety 9’s got it.
Owners Sjur Soleng and Rich Dunn opened the store a few years back because of the need for a craft beer place in the area. “I lived in Hawaii and North Carolina and they both had craft beer centric stores but when I moved back to Norwalk I noticed there wasn’t one,” Soleng said, “There were stores that carried craft beers but it was warm and dusty so we decided to open this place.”
When they first opened, Ninety 9 Bottles had around 200 craft beers from micro-breweries from all over, but mostly from the United States. As business grew and the word got out about the hip, new beer store in town, Ninety 9 Bottles’ inventory grew to about 340 different beers.
They even get some of the rarer bottles like the expensive, but sought after, Sam Adam’s Utopia at nearly $200 per bottle. Another is the Imperial Stout Trooper by New England Brewing Company, the beer with the Star War’s Storm Trooper on the bottle. “Once a year we get the Utopia, we get one or two bottles and they sell fast,” Soleng said, “The Stout Trooper isn’t as rare but it has collector value and is a highly sought after beer. We got 10 cases last year and they flew off the shelves.”
Check out Ninety 9 Bottles in person, but if you can’t, you can order online. They ship to most states and if you’re close by they will deliver orders for $50 and up within five miles for free.
If you are passionate about beer, skip the big box stores and give Ninety 9 Bottles a shot. Visit a place where the owners know what they’re talking about. “I’m a beer lover,” Soleng said, “I wasn’t looking to open a place so I could buy craft beer for myself. I just wanted to help the movement.”
Ninety 9 Bottles
209 Liberty Square
Norwalk, CT 06855