Scots couple who started rum business in lockdown to open micro distillery

The couple behind Strathaven-based Old Mother Hunt Rum are set to open a micro distillery.

Published 9th Jul 2021
Updated 8 th Aug 2023

Matt and Becky Hunt started their own rum business after he was made redundant as an airline pilot with FlyBe just as airlines started grounding planes because of Covid-19.

Becky was supporting the family of four with a temporary job with NHS Test and Trace.

When they launched Old Mother Hunt, the pair contracted out the initial distillation of the pure white rum and rectified and compounded it themselves to create their bespoke range of flavoured rums: Smokey Oak, Number Seven, Stiff Neck, Signature and Winter Spiced which are produced in Strathaven.

Now they have secured their own distillers' licence so they create their own rum 100 per cent from scratch using molasses.

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

Matt Hunt, who has the role of 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.”

Becky Hunt, whose role includes marketing, said: “We are based in Scotland where the tradition of whisky distilling goes back 240 years and 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.”

New bar with Scotland's largest collection of rum to open in Edinburgh 

Speaking of how the company came to be, Becky said: "We created the company at the beginning of lockdown after Matt lost his job as a captain at Flybe, two weeks after we moved house.

"We both felt so despondent and hopeless as it’s not looking very likely that Matt will ever be able to return to his career.

"Our lack of household income made lockdown and the entire situation so stressful and demoralising. There were no jobs and we quickly realised we’d have to create our own jobs and future.

"We decided on rum as it’s well known enough for people to be interested but not so well known that people are bored of it. Old Mother Hunt has given us an opportunity to be busy again and focus on a future."

For more information visit their website.

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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