If you were a craft beer fan in Melbourne during the early days of its rise, there was a constant truism to how you bought beer. If you wanted to get your hands on a wide selection to enjoy at home, you were heading to one of a very small number of bottleshops.
It didn’t matter if the good beer was nowhere near where you lived or worked, if you wanted it, you had to plan your day, weekend (and maybe even where you chose to live) around getting to a very finite number of places in the city.
But thankfully, that’s changed. Among those who have created that change is A Point of Difference Liquor, which opened in 2016 in Mitcham. While Melbourne’s inner east had long been home to some of Australia’s leading craft bottleshops, the area beyond Burwood and Box Hill missed out before A Point of Difference – or APOD as it’s affectionally known – came along. That’s despite the area being awash with young families, plenty of who had moved back to the ‘burbs after years of enjoying the broad selection many inner-city bars and bottleshops are known for.
You might well have guessed it from the name but the store was born from a desire to do things differently by focusing on the kind of beers, spirits and wines you couldn’t get from a larger retailer.
The small store is located within walking distance from the suburb’s train station and in the heart of the Mitcham Shopping Centre. Walk in and you’ll be greeted to a multitude of beers across every beer style under the sun, with APOD always stocking what’s new and good from the country’s ever-expanding number of craft breweries and internationals too.
It means that each time you walk in, you can easily lose track of time browsing for new beers or discovering breweries you’re yet to meet. Despite its small size, the place does manage to cram in more than 800 unique beers, a collection on par with some of the best specialist bottlos around. But, of course, size isn’t everything.
Of greater importance is a dedication to continually refreshing and rotating the range so customers are always able to find something new, whether they return every month or a few times a week. Every hoppy beer you buy from APOD is not only sold cold but has been stored and transported cold too to help ensure they get to your home just as the brewer intended.
It’s the same approach when it comes to cider, wines and spirits. There’s an emphasis on small producers, whether they are Australian or international, and a focus on those brands that can’t be found in major liquor retailers. This not only provides customers with a genuine choice of products but also means there’s no need to enter into price wars with competitors.
When it comes to beer, everyone has their little idiosyncrasies: what styles we prefer over others, which hops our palates believe mix together to make the perfect IPA, what breweries are the most exciting both at home and abroad. It wasn’t always this good but today, anyone in the outer east can satisfy their own particular desires, whatever their point of difference.
NB: Below is just a taste of the breweries whose beer’s APOD stocks, with the bottleshop constantly changing things up and getting new beers from new breweries in.