The West End bar has finally put its name on a gin, creating the Pink Pepper Gin with Never Never Distilling in what owner Marcus Motteram calls a "friction"-filled process.
Hains & Co releases its first collaborative spirit with Never Never
At this time, the two hospitality industry heads had only ever collaborated on one thing: “Shots at two o’clock in the morning,” says Sean.
They both eventually found their way back to South Australia, bringing that early fondness along with them.
Sean recalls Hains & Co being the first bar in Adelaide to stock Never Never’s now famous and highly awarded gin.
“Marcus was a big part of our story because he was always in our corner,” Sean says.
“So he pretty much bought the very first case of gin that we made, and then continued from that day on to be a hugely important part of the way that people experienced Triple Juniper for the first time.”
Sean has has previous success joining forces with other businesses, like Chalk Hill, Maybe Sammy and Sullivans Cove, to create Never Never’s spirit of the season, and has gained a lot of experience bringing minds together into one gin bottle.
“[When] we do collaborative products, the collaborative partners bring with them the guts of the idea — the real premise of what they’re wanting to create,” Sean says.
However, when it came to Hains & Co’s first-ever collaborative spirit, Marcus was committed to making sure it was flawless and matched his vision.
“Marcus wanted to create something that was perfect in a gin and tonic,” Sean says.
“We never have worked with someone who was more dedicated than Marcus.”
‘Dedicated’ can be taken to mean many things, and with a grin Sean says, “You can take that for what you will”.
“He definitely wanted to get the right recipe,” Sean says.
Marcus knows exactly what Sean is trying to say.
“There was a bit of friction,” Marcus says.
In the pursuit of a perfect gin recipe, the creative process was lengthy and repetitive.
“Every time, we’re going up [to Never Never Distilling], trying different things – I think the first time we actually ended up with something that was a long way away… they sort of said, ‘I think this is where we want to be’, and it was a good tasting gin,” Marcus says, still trying to convince himself of those very words.
“But it wasn’t what I’d wanted to create.
“They said, ‘Ok, let’s start again.’ You can imagine how that conversation went!”
Despite the friction-filled process, both Sean and Marcus are thrilled with the taste of the Pink Pepper Gin, and believe that by pushing each other, it created an even better product than they were anticipating.
“I think that when you do have these collaborative processes and there is more friction, you do tend to come out with a better product, and that’s what we did,” Marcus says. “I think we’re both super excited by it.”
As for how Marcus hopes for the gin to be deployed by drinkers, he has purposely designed a gin for one purpose: pairing with quality tonic.
“The focus was to make a banging gin and tonic, and I know people come out with gins often to be able to utilise with Martinis — and Martini’s are a fantastic drink, but how many people drink Martinis?” Marcus says.
“And then, how many people drink gin and tonics? There’s a big difference.”
Noticeable from the very first sip, pink pepper is the obvious star of the gin, followed by punchy botanicals seeping through the freshly scented spirit.
“This utilises pink pepper, pink grape fruit, Murray river pink salt, gunpowder tea [and] Sichuan pepper. It’s got mandarin peel to sort of elevate some of those fragrant notes,” Marcus says.
For the past 10 years, Hains & Co has built its name on being a reputable bar with quality drinks, and always being open ’til the early hours of the morning.
“Our whole thing when I first came to Adelaide was that a lot of places weren’t open that often and weren’t open that late,” Marcus says.
“So I found that frustrating, certainly over Christmas time, and I was still building [Hains & Co], so I really wanted to have a drink after I’d finished.”
Coinciding with the introduction of the small venue licence, Hains & Co was built upon the idea that the best stories happen beyond 1am.
“We’re hospitality — we work when no one else does, that’s kind of what we do,” Marcus says.
“So our whole thing was trying to be as open as much as possible.”
Now Hains & Co has a regular community ranging from newly turned 18-year-olds looking to prove the legitimacy of their ID, all the way to 80-year-olds with decades of drinking experience, and no patience for a cheap spirit.
Hains & Co is located at 23 Gilbert Place, Adelaide and is open seven days from 4pm ’til late.
Connect with them on Instagram for more.
To purchase the Pink Pepper Gin, head to Never Never’s website.