Donna's Carryout in Norwood reopens as Cappy's beer speciality shop

Brewery folks are excited by news
Posted at 8:00 AM, Nov 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-12 12:32:32-05

NORWOOD, Ohio -- The rumors are true – Cappy’s has a second location.

The former Donna’s Carryout in Norwood has been reopened and rebranded and will continue to evolve into a craft beer specialty shop. It will serve as the second location to bear the name Cappy’s, which also has Cappy’s Wine and Spirits in Loveland.

Donna’s was closed in July and the new Cappy’s is a different establishment. While it will still carry national beer brands, the business' focus is on the booming craft beer industry.

And, the new business isn’t going to be confused with the old one, said Ben Capodagli, owner of Cappy’s.

“It’s changed drastically. It’s not even in the ballpark of what it used to be,” he said. “There’s not liquor at all. The outside signs aren’t done yet, but inside it’s all Cappy’s.

“A lot of brewery people are excited – they think it’s a great location,” he added.

He brought Natalie Phillips in to run the Norwood location. Phillips has extensive experience in the beer industry, running the beer department at Belmont Party and Supply in Dayton, as well as working for beer distributors. She also has been a member of the Dayton D.R.A.F.T homebrewers club for eight years and homebrewed for more than 10 years.

“She’s very well-known in the industry" Capodagli, said . “Her knowledge is much more than mine, and we needed someone like that there. This wasn’t going to happen unless I could hire someone who knew what they were doing, like Natalie.”

“What this does is enables people to come to Cappy’s once a week instead of once a month,” he said. “We draw people from all over the city - plus Natalie brings her customer base.”

Instead of being an all-around liquor store, Cappy’s  is a bottle shop, first and foremost. Phillips spent days organizing stock and has between 600 and 700 distinct beers available.

“I like this side of the business a lot better. I like putting beer in people’s hands directly instead of putting it in stores,” Phillips said. “It’s a different kind of relationship. But being a beer buyer for many years, I understand what is needed in stores more than just what distributors want to push.

“Beer people are loyal to people more than places,” she added. “The relationships you get out of that are much more rewarding.”

This is Cappy’s philosophy at its Loveland location, as well, Capodagli said.

“We’re very engaging in our stores, and we try to build individual relationships with our customers,” he said.

Future plans include having a growler station, similar to what is in the Loveland location, but there is no timeline set for that event, Capodagli said.

“Business will dictate that,” he said. “We want to build the bottle shop first. That’s how we did it in Loveland.”

One advantage Cappy’s in Norwood will have over some other shops is that every four- or a six-pack of beer it sells is also broken down into singles, meaning customers can try an individual beer before committing to the larger quantity – or price.

“We will have more singles at Norwood, but they have more 22-ounce bottles at Loveland,” Phillips said. “Plus, we’ve already been doing special releases once or sometimes twice a week.”

In addition to future plans for a growler station, Cappy's is looking to do some educational tastings after the first of the year.

“That way, people can get different styles and takes on them,” Capodagli said. “We want to do things that tap into Natalie’s knowledge.”

He also said they are thinking of other events that would tie the two locations together, and are exploring the possibility of having a nitro-coffee tap, as there is no licensing needed to serve that.