This article was first published in the Newcastle Herald ‘Weekender’ magazine in print and online on August 27, 2022. Image: Earp Distillery
When it comes to simple pleasures, it’s hard to match the joy of having a box of goodies from your favourite providore or local maker delivered to your door. From coffee and craft beer to wine, cheese, and spirits, we’ve rounded up some of the city’s most delectable food and drink subscription offerings.
Florence Diffey and Josh Distefano made the move to Newcastle – where Distefano grew up – with their young family in 2021. Opening their beautiful store Vera Wine on Beaumont Street in Hamilton soon after.
“Vera is a fun little wine retail space that’s all about making delicious things available to everyone,” says Diffey.
“Our focus is on independent wine producers, sustainability, and quality. We range wines of all different styles, regions, and price points.”
Vera Wine filled a gap in the local market for a specialty wine store with a considered focus on independent, local, and organic wine, beers, and spirits.
The couple has an impressive resume between them. Distefano has worked at well-known Melbourne venues the likes of Bar Liberty and the now-closed Dinnerby Heston, and boutique bottle shop Blackhearts & Sparrows.
While Diffey grew up at her dad’s wine bar and Melbourne institution, Gerald’s Bar, studied winemaking in the UK, made wine in Sicily, and worked in an events and education role at reputed fine wine retailer Prince Wine Store.
Vera Wine offers all white, all red, and mixed wine packs with three, six and 12 bottle options. Each of which is available as a one-off purchase or on a rolling subscription delivered to you every one, three, or six months.
“If you can’t find what you are looking for, we can also put together custom packs to suit your preference.”
“All of our subscription packs change monthly so you will never have the same wines month in, month out. It is our absolute pleasure hunting and sourcing new things for our customers.”
67 Beaumont St, Hamilton
“With an increasingly knowledgeable and interested market, I set about designing the ultimate coffee appreciation subscription. Something I wanted myself as a busy mum working full-time,” explains coffee lover and travel and tech marketer Jessica Sullivan on launching Coffee Selectors in March 2020.
“I was growing frustrated with taking an extra 15 minutes to grab a latte in the mornings. Having been a barista in my uni days, I decided to buy a machine – and it was just like riding a bike. I love starting my day – no matter what time it is – firing up the machine and taking a sip of my best pour. I’ve never looked back.”
Coffee Selectors offers a variety of artisan coffee subscription options, all of which include delivery. A monthly ‘Spoil Me’ $75 subscription, which includes three 250g bags from three different roasters; a monthly ‘Simplicity’ $70 subscription for a one-kilo bag from one roaster; their ‘Award-Winners’ option, delivered every four months, which includes three 250g bags from roasters voted by monthly subscribers as their favourites; and gift subscriptions.
“By the end of a 12-month stint, if you’re not already a coffee connoisseur, this subscription will certainly turn you into one. You’ll know everything about which type of origins you like, how they are processed, different flavour profiles, and who’s serving great coffee in every state with a backstory to each roaster making it a really personal journey for customers.”
Chops & Hops
JP Kelly and Carl Stephenson launched Chops & Hops in October 2020.
“Chops & Hops pairs regional craft beers – and other Aussie liquor products – with great quality tasting meats for the BBQ or low ‘n’ slow smoking enthusiasts,” explains Kelly.
The pair were driven to start a business that would support creative small businesses, and financially benefit Australian craft producers, along with something they enjoyed – Australian craft beer and BBQ.
“We are a couple of guys that love to try a new beer, we always try the local produce when travelling, and we love a weekend BBQ with friends and family. During the COVID lockdown, we saw a compelling customer proposition to enjoy these experiences from the comfort of your own backyard.”
Chops & Hops are currently offering craft beer subscriptions (which includes a different 16-pack case of craft beer once a month for $89), alongside their one-off Father’s Day packs. Their craft beer and meat packs are set to return closer to Christmas.
Lovers of refined spirits are likely to have paid Earp Distillery in Carrington a visit but may not know about their recently re-invigorated subscription offering, The Spirit Club.
“The Spirit Club aims to build a community of members who are also curious and would like to become part of our spirit development or learn more about our spirits and processes,” says Earp’s head distiller and co-founder Michael Earp.
Earp decided to make the move away from generic monthly core product range offerings to bi-monthly packs of new releases and limited releases, which would be trialled by Spirit Club members.
Membership costs $69 bi-monthly with each pack containing two 200ml bottles of an Earp experimental spirit, a tailored garnish and mixer, distiller notes, and a cocktail suggestion.
Earp says they welcome feedback – “the good, the bad, and the ugly” – from members on the spirits. “To have a community of people that love our products, feel part of our ‘family’ and have some influence over what is happening with our range is very powerful and inspiring. It doesn’t just ‘happen’ and we need to invest more into this area of the business and leverage the feedback.”
The upcoming October Spirit Club box features Earp’s No 8. Dry Gin and Portside gins, which have been aged in casks that previously held Madeira wine. The end result is a spicy, fruity, honey-coloured gin.
41 Darling Street, Carrington
Local coffee roasters
Got a favourite local roaster? Many offer coffee subscriptions, making it easy to get a regular dose of your desired roast. Among those that do are Floozy, Suspension, Glitch, Josie Coffee, Crema Coffee, Sprocket, and Silverskin.
Pork Ewe Deli
Artisan deli Pork Ewe in Mayfield serves up delicious cheese, charcuterie, and gourmet groceries. Owner/operator Sam Glover, who has a love for all things food and drink, says, “To be able to work every day doing something you feel passion and joy for is a blessing.”
Food-loving locals can sign up to the Pork Ewe Gastronomic Society, an annual membership for $59, for access to member events and in-store discounts, including their monthly cheese packs.
There are three subscription options available, all of which include various discounts. The Taste Tester ($129) includes one Society cheese box; The Seasonal Selection ($299) with three cheese boxes; and The Whole Hog ($999), which includes 12 months of cheese boxes.
144 Maitland Road, Mayfield