When rum lovers Scott McCarthy and Alec McDowall met at a distilling conference in 2018, they knew they were kindred spirits, but little did they realise that their shared spirit passion would lead to an exciting new business venture.
Armed with their International Distilling Diplomas, a combined business acumen and suitable R&D skills, they spent the next two years developing their business model for Mad Monkey Distillery, Adelaide’s first dedicated rum distillery.
“We had found this site here in Dudley Park, and converted it into a distillery, bond storage warehouse and tasting room,” said Alec.
“We had our name, our mascot monkey Fez, and were ready to open in March 2020, right when COVID hit.”
“However, this worked out well for us in the long run, as we had more time to hone our business skills and further develop our tasting room and sample and refine our rum blends,” he said.
“When we found this warehouse here in La Salle cul-de-sac in Dudley Park, we knew we had the right location for Mad Monkey Distillery,” said Alec.
“PAE council were amazing in our dealings with them. They helped and guided us through the paperwork to get approval for the building development, liquor license and compliance. We felt that we were working in a true partnership for a common goal.”
Mad Monkey ferment and distil everything on site using native ingredients and traditional methods and they have created three unique artisan spirits: Saccharum, Flora and Ubhal Bakte.
Sustainability is at the heart of everything Mad Monkey do, and they have implemented environmentally friendly water, waste and energy saving activities. This includes the installation of solar panels and local beehive, a closed water circuit process for the still system to prevent water wastage, eco-friendly packaging, and bulk supply to venues to combat single use glass usage.
“Australian excise laws are quite strict when it comes to rum, so our spirit must be fermented from sugar cane, and then aged in wood for two years, before being legally certified as rum,” said Scott.
“Our barrel aged rum is currently maturing in our bond store, in aged American Oak barrels that have been seasoned with Shiraz and fortified wines, and our first certified release will be ready in 2022.”
A fragrant and delicious selection of rums waft from Mad Monkey’s distillery into a funky Caribbean, tiki surf themed tasting area. This vibrant room features a colourful fit-out and viewing window where guests can see Mad Monkey’s still house with the 500L hybrid still that the house spirits are brewed in.
Mad Monkey is set to become a welcoming green oasis in this industrial area, with its pet friendly large outdoor, grassed area, known as the yard…perfect for picnics and lawn games.
Nestled beside this is a thriving orchard with lemons, limes, grapefruit, pears and oranges. These perfumed fruits are used in the infusion of the spirits and as fresh garnishes to top off the rum inspired cocktails, tasting flights and crafted mixed drinks that are available, along with gourmet toasties, dip plates and small bites that pair perfectly with tastings.
Mad Monkey has plenty to offer for Adelaide’s rum lovers.