Thursday, October 6, 2011

Prohibition ends for H&F Bottle Shop

Posted By on Thu, Oct 6, 2011 at 10:42 AM


"Hectic," is how spirit specialist Nick Hearin describes the past five days of working at H&F Bottle Shop. Delivered with an exasperated chuckle, it's easy to see that 'hectic' is an understatement. In case you missed it, the shop's quest for a liquor license came to an end last Friday, at 4 p.m. to be exact. Several hints alluding to this long-awaited acquisition were dropped via enigmatic Facebook updates such as Friday morning's "good things are worth waiting for..." Finally, at 3:53 p.m. they broke the news by posting a digital flyer touting the headline, "Prohibition ends at last!" No further explanation was offered, nor was it requested. For anyone familiar with Linton and Gina Hopkins' burgeoning culinary empire, the end of Prohibition could only mean one thing; that after months of wine-only at H&F Bottle Shop, the hard stuff had finally arrived.

Nick Hearin spent four years as Restaurant Eugene's beverage director (his facial hair was much less formidable back then) before becoming the shop's resident spirit specialist. Hearin says that Friday was particularly crazy. "We were putting out the spirits at the same time as people were coming in to see what we had." Speaking of the spirits, only one shipment made it the shop that first afternoon. "I had 40 spirits and 3 beers on the shelf," Hearin says. Four days later their inventory has grown considerably. "We ordered just over 200 spirits to start, I think we easily have room for 300."

The north wall inside H&F Bottle Shop is now dedicated to liquor. The bottles are organized from lightest to fullest starting with gin and ending with Hearin's favorite area, the sweet cordials and herbal liqueurs. Drinkers of all sorts will be pleased to find a wide array of spirits in the shop including mezcal, pisco, rum and brandy along with the usual suspects vodka, gin, tequila and, of course, whiskey. In fact, there is an entire shelf next to the bourbons that has yet to be stocked with—I'll give you one guess. Yep, more bourbon! The H&F Bottle Shop boys hope to curate "one of the better bourbon selections in the city." Which is a polite way of saying that their bourbon selection is going to be off the chain.

After one last big shipment on Wednesday, the real work begins. "I want to bring in a few of the Buffalo Trace spirits that we can’t get here in Ga yet," Hearin says. "They do a lot of experimental age a whiskey in old chardonnay casks. Since it’s still put in oak to begin with, it’s still considered a bourbon even though they’re doing different finishes." Sounds good to me! So what else to we have to look forward to? As we mentioned before, more bourbon, and apparently, H&F Bottle Shop is working on a house gin that's being bottled with the help of Corsair Artisan Distillery in Nashville as well as their own peach bitters. Stay tuned fellow lushes, drinking in Atlanta just got a bit more interesting.

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