Every Wednesday night after work, four guys gather to distill, infuse and bottle gin at Adelaide’s first CBD-based distillery, Red Hen. The three Vallelonga brothers – Michael, Anthony and Daniel – and old friend Luke Page spent years catching redhen railcars into town for school. Now they meet at their own incarnation each week for “gin night”.
"The kids think it's gym night," jokes Page. They’re not completely wrong – there's plenty of physical activity required to haul the ingredients around, operate the equipment, and fill, label and seal each bottle. But after two years and 30 practice batches, the effort has paid off, with bottles now on selected shelves just in time for the warmer months.
The quartet has opted for a flavour of London Dry gin that’s heavy on the juniper. The process begins by placing grape spirit in a 100-litre still along with a basket of 15 botanicals, including coriander, orris root, licorice root and cassia bark. Rather than being steeped in alcohol, steam passes through this basket to produce a more subtle flavour.
Some of the botanicals have to be sourced from afar, but Michael and Daniel both work on the family flower farm and are already experimenting with growing their own for future batches.
As for the CBD location, Anthony says it’ll make deliveries easier. "There’ll be no delivery charge as long as there's a beer waiting when we get there," he jokes.