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June 17, 2019
Commerce

Booze Brothers is actually an amazing boutique beer and wine shop

South Australian and family-owned for more than 30 years, Booze Brothers have all the trendy craft beer, wine and spirits you want – even if they don't look like they do.

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  • Words: Josh Fanning
  • Pictures: Andy Nowell

Named for the cult classic film by John Landis and Dan Aykroyd starring two of the greatest anti-heroes of all time, Booze Brothers in Adelaide had a lot to live up to when they established in 1986.

At their peak, the Booze Brothers empire of bottle-os had a total 19 or 20 locations across metro Adelaide, which long-serving employee and manager of the Avenues Booze Brothers store Andy Pritchard says led a lot of people to believe the retail outlets were part of a bigger chain.

“Even now I think a lot of people are still taken aback when they learn the company was started by two South Australians – two brothers,” says Andy. “We actually made some strategic decisions to sell off properties to Woolworths and consolidate our footprint some years ago and now we have a very focused offering to the communities we operate in.”

Andy has worked for Booze Brothers for 23 years. He’s moved around various properties, but currently manages the Avenues Shopping Centre store.

CityMag first noticed Booze Brothers was doing a good job when on a mission to track down Garage Project – a craft brewery out of New Zealand and, after asking beer reps from Hawkers, Mismatch and Coopers who the best bottle shop for craft beer was – the verdict was unanimous.

“Aw, that’s great of them to say,” says Andy when we tell him Booze Brothers came up trumps in our quick survey. “We’ve had a history with craft beer for a long time through some of our pubs like the Royal Oak and Norwood and we’ve always had a ‘mix-six’ where people can mix and match any six beers they like. You end up saving $5-$10 doing that.”

Andy isn’t the bearded archetype of the craft beer scene. He’s a down-to-earth character more focused on his customer’s satisfaction and knowing what he’s talking about than looking like he makes the beer himself. This honest, down-to-earth characteristic is true to Booze Brothers across the board.

“We have a lot of local autonomy,” says Andy about the Booze Brothers approach to retail. “Where the big chains are looking at replicating the same pack discounts and product pushes across the nation and state, we’ve remained faithful to our customer’s preferences. Each store can respond and react to what our customers want and so this has a nice effect of making each Booze Brothers feel really local.”

Decent beer fridge

Portrait of Andy Pritchard who has worked for Booze Brothers for 23 years

Andy Pritchard has worked for Booze Brothers for 23 years and manages the Avenues Shopping Centre store

 

And while craft can feel like a bit of a trend in 2019, with the explosion of craft breweries, distilleries and small wine producers, for Andy and the Booze Brothers stores, it’s always been that way.

“We don’t deal with the bigger wineries like Treasury [makers of Penfolds], it never worked for our business model,” says Andy.

“Whereas someone like Brooke [Lampit] of Lambrook Wines is a perfect example of what we do well,” says Andy. “She was living locally and shopped with us and told me about what they were planning to do with their label and they asked for our advice – that sort of thing.

“When the support is there on both sides, we can grow together,” says Andy about the experience of working with Lambrook in their early stages.

Remarks

Booze Brothers have four locations across Adelaide.

The Mile End
30 Henley Beach Road
Mile End

The Unley
27 Unley Road
Parkside

Avenues
114 Payneham Road
Stepney

The Duck Inn
393 Main Road
Coromandel Valley

After 23 years with the company Andy is feeling more invigorated than ever by the industry in Adelaide. He points to gin as probably the most exceptional category for the group of bottle shops.

“Two years ago we probably had six different gins, now we have close to 100 different brands across our venues,” he says.

And with an increase niche in gin and wine and beer, Andy is noticing a younger customer shopping in Booze Brothers.

“More young people are shopping here for sure, they are very knowledgable, and if they don’t know something they’ll do their research in the store on their phone. But that doesn’t mean they’re not open to suggestions,” says Andy.

“We just focus on proper customer service and think long term about what we’re doing and how we fit in our community as a local shop, but also how we operate as a retailer in the industry to support the small, independent operators out there like us.”

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