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Trend Alert:Owning the Train and the Tracks

Where: Public Wine Shop, Melbourne 
What: Direct-to-consumer business
Who: Wine importers Campbell Burton and Charlotte Ryan

Words: The A+ Team
Images: Annika Kafcaloudis 

May 28, 2024

In our fractured, post-pandemic industry, hospitality operators can find themself in a hybridised retail landscape. To bolster revenue, seasonal product lines might be manufactured or we might find ourselves relying on private event bookings to manage cashflow.

Sometimes we see business models so deceptively simple that it’s hard to believe it’s not yet standard practice. Like in Melbourne’s leafy neighbourhood of Fitzroy North where Campbell Burton Wines hums along as a wine imports business. Campbell Burton and his partner Charlotte Ryan are also the owner-operators of Public Wine Shop. This allows them to acquire wines of incredible quality (and rarity) to serve by the glass or bottle on site, creating a unique and destination-worthy bar experience as they balance primary, secondary and tertiary revenue streams – on premise, off premise (retail) and wholesale.

All bottles (of wine, beer and cider) are marked at both a retail and dine-in price, giving guests the option to share a bottle with dinner, or take a couple to-go on the way home from work. 

Public Wine Shop, Masters of:

01. The Neighbourhood Destination

Public Wine Shop has a low-tempo atmosphere that’s perfectly suited to the fine folks of Fitzroy North. It doesn’t scream “locals only”, though: there’s destinational appeal for natural wine nerds from all over Melbourne. 

02. Supplying for Demand

The dealer’s maxim “don’t get high on your own supply” holds true for a range of direct-to-consumer products. Public Wine Shop utilises their imports business to stock their own shop and fill the glasses of their customers. 

03. Circular Economies

It’s a small-business exemplar of F&B productisation where one hand washes the other, and could be translated across other sectors of the drinks industry. 

Check out Public Wine’s Instagram, and drop by the next time you’re in Fitzroy North.

This Trend Alert is excerpted from the A+ Future Trends Report 2024–25, a holistic deep-dive into what we know will impact hospitality operators in coming years. Stay tuned, the report will be made available to the public soon.

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