GOOD BOOZE HERE
It’s a simple sign that really cuts to the point, doesn’t it? And it’s that offer and that offer alone which drives Coburg bottleshop The Great Beyond.
Located on the perennially busy Bell Street and a short stroll from both Coburg Station and Sydney Road, the store opened in the second half of 2019 and, in doing so, filled a rare gap in northern Melbourne’s craft beer offering. Many of the surrounding suburbs have their own, sometimes multiple, spots serving up a wide mix of takeaways but, despite its rapid growth and proximity to the city, Coburg had trailed a little behind.
The driving force behind The Great Beyond is Ryan Marshman, who’s worked in the world of good booze for practically his whole life. That “practically” stems from the fact Ryan’s move into the beer world was sparked by his own buying habits after knocking off from work at a pizza joint.
After payday, he’d head to the nearest bottleshop and, without fail, pick up a beer he’d not tried before and this being in the very earliest days of the modern craft beer wave it wasn’t too long before those options were exhausted. After asking enough times, Ryan ended up landing up a job at the store and later moved to pioneering good beer bottleshops in Melbourne, as well as retailers focused on wine and spirits.
By 2019, he was ready for a place of his own and found a home among a quiet set of shops in Coburg – just around the corner from his actual home.
Head there now and, once past that sign promising good booze, you’ll find a shop dedicated to local, independent and interesting beer, wine and spirits. If it’s craft beer you’re after, which of course you are, the back wall is given over to fridges full of different styles that go as far as differentiating between hazy IPAs and bitter West Coast IPAs.
Given the genesis of Ryan’s first job in the booze world, it’s unsurprising the focus at The Great Beyond is on fostering a journey of discovery for customers, something that’s factored into the pricing. Whether you buy a six-pack of the same beer or six different beers, you’ll get the same multi-buy discount applied; if it’s four of your go-to and two specials you’ve not seen before, it's the same deal.
The journey of discovery extends to frequent showcases of what’s new; if you drop in for a few beers between leaving the station and getting home, don’t be surprised if you end up being tempted into picking up a bottle of cab sauv too.
There’s also a community feel permeating the business: you’ll find The Great Beyond team and customers continually chatting and recommending different things to each other in a manner that suggests this is a spot embraced by its locals. They even offers bike parking inside the store – a simple yet wonderful option for anyone keen on buying some good booze while cycling home.
In the near future you might be able to stop in for longer too, with plans afoot to create a drink-in option for customers.
So, even though the name The Great Beyond stems from the store’s location in the world beyond Bell Street, by putting community, discovery and good booze at the heart of what’s on offer, it could just as easily refer to the adventure you embark upon each time you pass through the doors.