Everyone’s had the experience of walking into a bottle shop and having no idea what to choose. You might be looking for a pinot noir but there’s a hundred different names and price tags with nothing on the labels to tell you what’s good (and what’s not).
This is exactly the feeling Clint Elvin and Johnathan Hepner (both ex-Batch Brewing Company are trying to avoid. Their solution is Bucket Boys, a bottle shop that’s run more like an art gallery or a brewery. “We’re doing something that no-one else is doing,” says Elvin. It’s a confident statement but he’s right.
The main aim here is to stock every style of beer and wine but only one, or a few, of each variety. “I can go into a bottle shop and find 6000 IPAs but not find any of the things I wanted to learn about,” says Elvin. “Who knows if we’ve actually got everything but we’ve got to be pretty close.”
Beers will include a mix of local brewers and international brands, while the spirits and wine selection will be exclusively Australian and family-owned. Beer is the main focus so the more popular styles will have a small range, but wines will be strictly one bottle per grape variety or style.
The duo has installed a tasting counter with a rotating selection of four tap beers (usually two local, two international), some of which are brewed by a collaboration between Bucket Boys and Willie the Boatman (in the future they’re also hoping to make wine and spirits).
“We won't be selling schooners. We'll be selling tastings for $2 or so depending on the beer. The idea is to taste it to see if you want to take some home,” says Hepner. Above the counter, which is designed to mimic the feel of a brewery bar, is a selection of growlers or squealers (measured brown glass bottles) waiting to be filled with tapped beer to take home. “They’re good for three days at most but I’d say it’s best to use them within 48 hours,” says Elvin. Alternatively, you can buy a bunch of single bottles and mix your own six-pack.