It was Happy Hour at Bottle Values in Old Bethpage on Friday. Five o'clock hit and folks came for a bit of whiskey, as in Bushmills whiskey. This shot came with a brush with celebrity.
Boomer and Carton of WFAN paid a visit to the store to meet their fans and sign bottles of Bushmills. That would be former Jets quarterback and Islip native Boomer Esiason and veteran radio personality Craig Carton, who have manned the morning slot at The FAN the last five years.
Boomer, who played football for East Islip High, says Long Island is the number-one listening area for the show, and knows how far the power of the microphone can reach, as the pair debate and entertain their legion of listeners every day.
"Living on Long Island, growing up here, my father loving the radio station, and then taking over for Imus and doing what we've done the last five years, is absolutely a dream come true," Esiason said.
Carton made the radio rounds in several states before landing at WFAN. He and Boomer paid a visit to the Bushmills factory in Ireland a while back, which started their association with the company.
"We got an inside tour of [the factory] and neither of us went into that door as big whiskey drinkers, but we both came out of it loving it ... to see how they go about making it was pretty awesome," Carton said.
The event comes as Bottle Values celebrates one year in Old Bethpage, and business is booming (pun intended).
"We're getting busier and busier as time goes on," said director of operations Ryan Armstrong. "We're building a customer base and establishing good relationships with [them]."
Armstrong adds the store buys its liquor in volume, so they can pass on the savings to its customers.
Of course, Boomer and Carton are part of 'The FAN', so the event was about the fans, some of whom came for an autographed bottle of Bushmills, and some who simply wanted to meet their favorite morning team.
"They have a really good chemistry, they're so different," said Glenn Grossman of Plainview. "Boomer is the straight man and Carton is this OCD wild maniac."
"I watch their [simulcast on MSG] every day, they make me laugh," said Plainview's Chris Bagnasco.
The event also comes on the day WFAN celebrates 25 years on the air. Boomer and Carton even took a moment to call in to Mike Francesa's show while they were in the store. If business at Bottle Values is thriving, the sports talk biz is overflowing, according to Boomer, who features a Super Bowl appearance and a CBS TV career among his many accolades.
"The fact that it has come this far does not surprise me at all," he said. "What surprises me is no one thought of it before 1987."
A successful 25 year run? The folks at Bottle Values will sign up for that in a heartbeat. Bushmills and all.