2 September 2023

Cheers to family: why Plonk is right at home at the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets

| Dione David
Start the conversation
Group of people in Plonk beer and wine shop

Liz (far left) and Anthony (far right) and their three sons Gus, Elliot and Louis, along with extended family Meg, Abbey and Emily. Photo: Plonk.

‘Family’ is the magic word at Plonk, the bottle shop co-owned by Liz and Anthony Young at the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets.

Anthony, who was once a buyer for David Jones’ wine and spirits divisions and Liz, a former clinical nurse who assisted in lung and heart transplants, have found their niche in the independent family-owned business.

“We wanted to create an independent liquor business that brought together the best quality products from independent wineries, breweries and distilleries rather than major corporations. Most of our suppliers are family-owned, independent craft breweries, cideries, wineries and distillers in Australia,” Anthony says.

“We ‘hand-select’ all our wines. That sounds like a bit of an industry buzz term, but what it translates to is going to these producers and tasting all the wines that end up on our shelves. We knock back nine out of 10 of the wines we taste. Liz and her wine-buying team taste thousands each year.

“It’s in keeping with us being a family-owned business because we’re visiting these producers in Australia and taking the time to get to know them. We form bonds. They become our business partners, and we all enjoy continuity of quality and prosperity.”

READ ALSO Passionate purveyors position Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets as more than a grab-and-go grocer

The relocation from their Manuka premises to the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets 15 years ago supported the Plonk philosophy.

About 11,000 cars come through the gates each week, and most are there for one reason, according to Anthony.

“Nearly all people coming into the markets are looking to purchase goods to entertain friends and family,” he says.

Almost entirely populated by independent, family-owned businesses, Anthony says the Markets operate like one big happy de facto family.

“Having multiple butchers, fishmongers, bakers, delicatessens and greengrocers in one place, we all know each other and what’s in season in each store. There’s a beautiful alignment that allows us to collaborate and ensure customers walk out with everything they need to create wonderful meals for their family and friends. Then, they come to Plonk,” he says.

“While some customers have their go-to products and at other times they will want something to complement their meal, our team at Plonk is very good at finding the perfect match for whatever else they’ve picked up at the markets.”

This philosophy carries on to the patrons. Anthony estimates that 85 per cent of the Plonk clientele are repeat and regular customers.

“Many come in week in, week out; some come more than once a week. We get to know them and they become friends over the years,” he says.

READ ALSO Five minutes with Scott Thompson, Piccolo Market Coffee

A lot has happened in the past decade and a half at the Fyshwick Markets. The store has been up for numerous awards and was once awarded Best Bottle Shop in Australia by Beer & Brewer Magazine. This year, Plonk has again been nominated for Best Bottle Shop in Australia by the Australian Liquor Industry Association out of more than 4500 liquor stores.

Over the years, Liz and Anthony’s three sons have worked in the store in one capacity or another, from creating social media content to ordering beer, managing the store, and working the checkout.

“They are grown up now and doing various things, but it was fantastic having all three boys help out with the family business,” Anthony says.

Anthony and Liz have expanded the “keeping it in the family” philosophy in the past decade by working particularly hard to promote local producers.

That’s why Plonk customers will find a wide selection of wine from the majority of the wineries in the Canberra wine region, beer from local craft breweries like Bentspoke, Capital Brewing and Zierholz, and spirits from distilleries around Canberra, like Underground Spirits and Big River Distilling.

As Father’s Day approaches, Fyshwick Market vendors get ready for one of the year’s busiest weeks, and Anthony is gleefully promoting Plonk’s Father’s Day Beer Box and other dad-centric deals.

“I guess it’s not surprising that it’s one of my favourite occasions,” he says.

“Anything to celebrate family, right?”

The Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets are open Thursday to Sunday from 7 am to 5:30 pm at 36 Mildura Street, Fyshwick.


Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.