By Ian McConnell

A micro-distillery producing flavoured rum from molasses has been launched by a former airline pilot and his wife at Strathaven in Lanarkshire.

Matt and Becky Hunt started their own rum business, Old Mother Hunt, in the spring of last year amid the first lockdown. Mr Hunt had been made redundant by Flybe, around the same time that other airlines started grounding planes because of the coronavirus crisis.

When they launched Old Mother Hunt, the couple contracted out the initial distillation of the pure white rum and then created, in Strathaven, their bespoke range of flavoured rums: Smokey Oak, Number Seven, Stiff Neck, Signature and Winter Spiced.

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They have now secured a distiller’s licence, noting this means they can create their own rum “100 per cent from scratch using molasses”. The first batch produced from scratch is just becoming available for sale, a spokesman noted.

The small-batch rum is distilled in a 200-litre copper pot still. White rum is then bottled and spiced. Some pure white rum is matured in oak barrels to produce golden rum.

Matt Hunt, chief distiller, said: “We are determined to keep the advantages of small-batch production, which enables us to develop our own bespoke recipes and flavours and ensure that our favourite flavours are consistent for customers. We now have even more control over the process and to produce every aspect of the rum in the UK is exciting. We are developing things as we go and expect to create some unique and exciting flavours for rum lovers.”

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The rum is sold by Old Mother Hunt mainly through its website, and in some retail outlets including farm shops. Scotland is a key market, and the rum is sold throughout the UK.

Becky Hunt, whose role includes marketing, said: “We live in times when gin has seen a renaissance with thousands of brands now available. We believe rum has the potential to be the next exciting spirit with a modern twist of flavours bringing it to the public attention.”