P&V Merchants opens in Sydney, stocking small-batch and hard-to-find booze

Mike Bennie and Lou Dowling

Mike Bennie and Lou Dowling

Get that Rootstock feeling all year round, with tastings, sales and special events.

This week, a bottle shop from some of Australia's better-known figures in the natural and small-batch drinks movement opens in Sydney's Newtown. Rootstock co-founder Mike Bennie has teamed up with Lou Dowling of the Mary's group, with the backing of Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham (Mary's, The Lansdowne), to create an independent liquor store that will also host tastings and talks, offer ready-made meals to have with your favourite bottle and sell entertaining essentials such as ice and citrus.

P&V Merchants - Piss and Vinegar to its friends - aims to be a one-stop shop for inner-city craft brews, small-scale spirits and wines of the organic, biodynamic or natural persuasion. The focus starts with Sydney and New South Wales producers, radiating out to the nation and then international labels. While the local appetite for natural wines has increased steadily over the past 10 years, finding these producers outside restaurants and bars isn't always easy.

"People were asking us 'where can I get a wine I drank at Mary's?' or 'where can I get wine I drank at Rootstock?'" Bennie says.

The new store will bring a raft of small producers under one roof, organising its range around themes such as "power and presence reds", "full and flavoursome whites" and "park wines" rather than country or weight.

One-offs and exclusives from local businesses are also part of the store's DNA. That could be a batched Mary's Negroni or summery bespoke gin made by Marrickville's Poor Tom's for the store's opening. Mary's is also behind the ready-meals, which will include black dhal or roast chicken in herb butter, that P&V labels "TV Dinners" and offers with wine recommendations to round out your night in.

"I wanted that old-school service orientation - the feeling of a delicatessen rather than a supermarket," Bennie says.

Daily tastings of beer, wine and spirits - some for a fee, others complimentary - will add to the community feel, as will a roster of courses and workshops upstairs. Think introductions to natural wine or tips on cocktail-making from local bar Earl's Juke Joint.

A more comprehensive food offer and full events schedule will be added in the coming months.

P&V Merchants, 64 Enmore Rd, Newtown, NSW, pnvmerchants.com; 10am-9pm daily from 9 December


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