The energy and boundary-pushing approach of the new-wave Australian wine, beer and spirit producers are two reasons Daniel Ferster and his business partner Daniel Berman opened Native Drops, a handsome bottle shop on Bondi’s O’Brien Street. The boutique cellar favours interesting local products with minimal-intervention and biodynamic principles in their production practices. Think small-batch, handcrafted and delicious.
“The industry has transformed from a stuffy one-dimensional ‘old school of appreciation’ [approach] into one where people can follow, learn, appreciate these products and have fun doing it,” says Ferster. “We want to nurture this change and make it more approachable to those in the eastern suburbs.”
That evolution, Berman and Ferster argue, is happening in parts of the local booze industry but has yet to influence the retail liquor space. “The majority of Australian bottle shops are like dull supermarkets filled with mass-produced products, with little to no customer experience. Our aim was to create a beautiful space to provide great local products in a relaxed and informed environment that reflects the beauty of what’s currently being created in our country,” says Ferster.
With that in mind, Native Drop is more aligned with a sophisticated fashion retailer than a bottle shop, which has been pulled together by Bondi locals, fitters, interior specialists and carpenters. The design was by Andy McDonnell, who Berman calls a magician for his clever interior vision. The shop features elegant custom-made display cabinets, striking lighting and native floral work by flower designer Selena Murray. There’s a large timber table crafted by Josh Pinkus made from salvaged floorboards from a demolished Hall Street building.
Native Drops is part bottle shop and part creative space where tastings, events, talks, performances and whatever other ideas arise in the future can take place. The owners want to add local deli products such as cheeses, oils, breads and jams, down the track. “Bondi has such a majestic beauty that is very much reflective of Australian culture. We wanted to create a small, intimate space that also reflects the beauty of Australian production in arguably Australia’s most iconic and visited destination,” says Ferster.
From December 13, Native Drops will host a Wednesday winemakers evening where a winemaker will discuss their current and back vintage over cheese and snacks.