Walking into the brick-fronted Penny Young bottle shop, you might feel overwhelmed by its 350-plus beers. But the long, open-faced fridge turns a potentially tough series of decisions into an easy shopping experience.
Cans and bottles from Australian brewers such as Colonial, Feral and La Sirène are all present. Limited release bottles such as Hargreaves Hill Phoenix Imperial Red Ale, or Moondog’s Jumping The Shark, will tempt many to up their shopping spend.
Owner Anthony Bongiovanni is also passionate about wines that use rare or unusual grape varieties. Bottles such as Gapsted Wines’ saperavi (a Georgian varietal) and the 2011 Nero D’Avola from Chalmers are highlights. The latter, using an Italian grape variety, is from the first winery to locally grow and use the grape in 2009.
Bongiovanni, an Essendon local, has been in the retail industry all his adult life. His grandfather owned a North Melbourne butcher and his dad owned a number retail shops over the years. Anthony’s name is also on upmarket Seddon supermarket, A. Bongiovanni & Son.
With experience like that, it’s no surprise Penny Young brings an assured feel to booze shopping.