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March 23, 2018

Hains’ Break Even Bottle: Whisky for the people

Championing the utopian ideals of drunken socialism, Hains & Co is bringing high-end whisky to the people, one Break Even Bottle at a time.

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  • Story: Johnny von Einem

Drunken socialism is a concept close to the heart of Adelaide’s sea-themed specialty gin and whisky bar, Hains & Co, but one pilfered from further afield.

“I love the concept, but it wasn’t mine,” venue owner, Marcus Motteram, says.

“It was Bobby Heugel from Houston, who has the Anvil Bar and Refuge. It was something he started and one of my staff told me about it.


Hains and Co is located at 23 Gilbert Pace and open from 4pm ’til late seven days a week.

“The whole idea is that you take an expensive bottle, you bring it into the realm of the everyday person, because you might not be able to spend a thousand or two thousand dollars on a bottle, but you can spend $40-$60 [for a shot].”

One bottle at a time, Marcus is bringing high-end whisky to the people at cost price. Adorning the selected spirit’s neck is a golden tag emblazoned with ‘BREAK EVEN BOTTLE’.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing to be able to try these things,” he says.

Among the many bottles cracked in the name of drunken socialism, Marcus’ favourites include Michel Couvreur Very Sherried, a Laphroaig 32-year old, Jameson’s Rarest Vintage – a Saint Patrick’s Day special – as well as a bottle of the increasingly rare Karuizawa.

The current Break Even pour is the Macallan Reflexion – a bottle that, according to a cursory glance at online auction sites, sits well outside the range of the average punter at above $1,500 per bottle. At Hains, it’s within reach at $67 a shot.

“Macallan is classically sherry from Jerez in Spain, using sherry Spanish oak,” Cody explains.

“This one’s a little bit different in that it still uses Spanish oak, but they also implement American oak, all in sherry, so you get a little bit of that bourbon characteristic coming through as well.

“There’s not many of these bottles around, and even for seasoned whisky drinkers, they’re not going to be able to come across bottles like this, so they’re going to come into places like here and give it a go.”

Hains’ hand-blown glassware at work.

The best environment for the spirit to be consumed, of course, Cody jokes, is Hains & Co, but “really, if you’re down with whisky, you’ll drink it in the snow or you’ll drink it in the middle of a sandstorm.”

The glassware, though, is an important part of the puzzle, and for that the bar stocks specialty whisky glasses from Melbourne makers, Denver & Liely.

“These are hand-blown in Melbourne… [and are] renowned as one of the best whisky glasses, certainly whisky nosing glasses, because it fans out so far but then funnels up into a bit of a flute,” Cody says.

The last Break Even Bottle lasted little more than five days before selling out, so, if Macallan is your dram, get in before it’s gone.

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