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Owen Arms Hotel unveils ‘Red Granny’ Vodka in new distilling venture

Abbie Tiller

It’s the quaint Adelaide Plains town with the vibrantly-painted silo, the friendly camel Fergi, and now, it’s very own homegrown spirits to wet your whistle.

At the heart of Owen, is its watering hole, the popular Owen Arms Hotel – a family-run pub with no shortage of unique stories and distinctive character, from the ornate underground cellar known as “the Pitt”, which used to be a great hide-out for a cheeky game of two-up, to the much-loved pub camel, brought in by the local ‘camel carter’ as an orphan.

Celebrating 21 years in business, owners Ian “Space” and Cath Gregory have added another point-of-difference to the pub –  launching their first batch of spirits, honouring a past legend of the town, Cath’s “unstoppable” Granny B.

Crafted by Chief Distillers, Space and son Mitchell, Red Granny Vodka is (as far as we know) the first pub-distilled spirits in the State. Two years in the making, the father and son duo attended a University course together to learn the craft of distilling, visited distilleries around the state and converted a shipping container into a distillery to house their own home-made still.

Wanting to try their hand at something different, and having guaranteed sales over the bar at their own pub, Cath said the Red Granny Vodka would be followed by a variety of other popular spirits.

“We sell loads of vodka over the bar, so it made sense to give that a go first,” she said.

“We’ve trialling some Limoncello at the moment and plan to distill other spirits like Ouzo and Absinthe, as well as adding to the Vodka range with a variety of flavoured Vodkas.”

Passionate about the community they live and do business in, the Gregory’s called on the services of other local businesses to produce their Vodka – from graphic designers and printers to the local H2O supplier, Dad’s Pure Water.

“There’s a huge sense of community around Owen. You couldn’t get a bunch of people who were more accepting and would do more for each other,” Cath said.

“The Mayor even walks past on his morning walks and picks up rubbish.”

Prior to taking on the pub, Cath’s parents, Carol and Toly Borissow ran the hotel for 11 years, with the help of Granny B – who immigrated to Australia from Ukraine after the war.

“We all loved her so much. She was funny as a fit. She’d always be helping around the hotel, sweeping and watering,” Cath said. Often wearing a red jacket, Granny B became known to the kids as “the red Granny”. Space and Cath’s daughter, Teagan, who plays a big part in the logistics and marketing behind Owen Distillers, came up with the idea to dedicate the first spirit to hit the shelves, to their beloved “ratbag”,  Red Granny.

Red Granny Vodka is available for wholesale, tastings and discounted Vodka drinks over the bar at Owen Arms.

An official launch will be held on November 19, to unveil Red Granny Vodka and to thank the local businesses who have been part of the project. There will be tastings, finger food, live music, merchandise and Vodka specials all afternoon.

Owen Arms Hotel – Owen Distillers
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