Jacques deVillier is an excitable fellow.
When the on-shore breeze blows a certain direction off Portland Harbor and the door to the Old Port Wine and Cigar Merchants is ajar, his high-pitched enthusiasm punctuates the air.
Today he was jovial times 10.
“I love being part of this community, I love being down here,” the wine seller barked into the phone.
So much so that two weeks ago he purchased Downeast Beverage Co. from Doug Webber. Five blocks away, the store at 79 Commercial is transforming to Old Port Spirits and Cigars by the end of the month. After eight years running a wine shop downtown, he is ready for more.
“My goal is to have the best selection of bourbon, whiskey and craft beer,” said deVillier, who dropped $150,000 to improve the store, which had seen better days.
A humidor built in Florida will be finished this week. Custom cabinetry and diamond-plated steel refrigeration should make this place pop. “It’s coming out beautifully,” he said.
Located across from the Casco Bay Lines, Old Port Spirits and Cigars is set to offer visitors all the Maine booze they can handle.
“It will be very nice with all the traffic coming in from Canada. Selling wines from Maine, people coming in from Nova Scotia … all the Canadians can take things back with them.”
deVillier plans to carry up to 600 types of craft beer and cater to the restaurant industry. His wine shop at 223 Commercial St. will not budge.
“Nothing will change here. We will still have the best selection of wine and that same level of service,” said deVillier.