Red Hen is the somewhat quiet achiever of the craft gin scene. Situated in Adelaide’s CBD, there’s no fancy cellar door (yet), huge still, or bottling line to wow visitors.
There is though a small 100l column still, three brothers + a good mate and a desire to make the best product possible, while taking the time necessary to do so.
We think this is what stands Red Hen out from a lot of other producers and it’s a genuine complement. Red Hen are taking their time to grow in a sustainable way and aren’t rushing new products to market without serious amounts of r&d on the way.
The business was launched in 2015 when their first still arrived from the US. It took around 18 months for Anthony, brothers Michael and Daniel and best mate Luke to bring their first gin to market.
The brothers and Luke all grew up together and initially weren’t serious about setting up a fully fledged business. The idea was to make something for family and friends to enjoy. The four had variously made wine, beer and other drinks with family members in the past. Drinks they shared around during family meal times and bonded over.
While they considered wine production as an option, they decided the time and money involved, as well as the risks associated were too great. With the local gin scene still small (8 or so craft producers in SA), but beginning to show signs of growth, they landed on gin as the way to go. We’re more than happy they did!
Having experimented their way into gin production they eventually realised they had a pretty decent product on their hands. The team then decided to go ahead and take the next step to launch their dry gin to the market.
Why the name?
Having grown up riding the train together to school every day, they opted for a name with a nostalgic nod. Redhen was the affectionate nickname for the red trains used in South Australia. A small inner city location in Adelaide became their home making Red Hen Adelaide’s very first urban distillery.
More recently they’ve moved to a slightly bigger location, with Adelaide also becoming home to new SA gin producers Prohibition and Imperial Measures among others.
The one thing that incredibly hasn’t changed in the past 5+ years is the 100l still Red Hen was first launched from. More than 18,000 bottles have been produced, meaning over 120 batches on what for many distilleries would be an experimentation size still.
As you’ll find out in our how to drink article, it’s not like the team have a low effort method of distilling either!
Considered change is on the cards for Red Hen though. More recently, they launched their 2nd gin, the incredibly coloured ‘Ultra Violet’ Dry Gin. While we were a little sceptical given its vivid butterfly pea induced colour, it was a pleasantly surprising and refined gin. Our respect for Red Hen grew even further as a result.
A new still is also on the cards, an upgrade in size which will free up production time for new products and ensure the team are more efficient in producing their existing range. Like many businesses around the country, Anthony and the team are also raring to get back out to events across the country.
For our smaller producers this is often the best way for them to get in front of new customers…and becoming a Gin Lane gin of the month of course!