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Root

Root
Retail

PSFK picks up a bottle of traditional Philly liquor in an artist's haven for conscious shoppers.

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 24 november 2009

On our recent visit to Philadelphia we had the pleasure of visiting the Art In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction boutique in Old City. It’s a delightful store that aims to be “an artist’s haven for conscious shoppers” and curates its collection of art, fashion, literature and other design objects. What makes it stand out above the growing rabble of cross-merchandised hipster stores is its heavy reference to Pennsylvanian culture in the items it sells – the Billykirk leather bags on the shelves are even made by the Amish!

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A paragraph on their site describes their ambitions:

Art In The Age of Mechanical Reproduction firmly believes in empowering artists producing high quality work marked by fine craft and intellectual rigor. We do so by applying the fruits of such labors to the cultural forms of everyday life, granting those who wish to engage the opportunity to do so in his/her own environment. Rather than exist at a distance in the white cube of the gallery space, we weave our offerings into the collective surface of myriad personal contexts. In this troubling epoch of industrial commodification, standardization of reproduction, and fomentation of a society of shallow spectacle, Art In The Age issues a challenge and rally cry. We fight fire with fire, subsuming the onslaught of watered down facsimiles and inaccessible displays with thought-provoking products of real cultural capital.

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Probably one of the most interesting finds in the store was Root. Root is an alcoholic beverage the store has commissioned that is based on a traditional PA folk recipe of herbal and spice ingredients. Even though we had stumbled in with the sort of hangover where it felt like a a small scurrying gerbil was stuck in our heads biting at the back of your eye-balls to a Samba beat, we let the guy there give us a taster on ice. It did nothing for the hangover but it did give us a nice introduction of small batch alcohol production. Root actually is the precursor to Root Beer and was watered down to the latter version during the prohibition.

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The store on 3rd Street can’t legally sell the drink but there’s a liquor store a couple of blocks away on 2nd Street & Market. If you visit the store, make sure you pick up and try it. We recommend Ginger Beer (not Ale) as a mixer.

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