Rum distillery in good spirits following Business Gateway Support

Co-founders Matt and Becky Hunt

A business that specialises in manufacturing small batches of spiced rums, has successfully launched with help from Business Gateway. The owners have gone on to increase its organic search traffic by 100% since launching in November 2020, by working with the support service. 

Based in the rural area of Strathaven in South Lanarkshire, the business was founded by husband and wife Matt and Becky Hunt after Matt Hunt, a former pilot, was made redundant at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic. Faced with an uncertain job market, they decided to start their own business and have since gone on to win The Best Business Start-Up In Britain at The Journal Magazine Awards. 

In the search for a ‘pandemic proof’ product and fuelled by a love of learning, the couple settled on rum. In May 2021 Matt and Becky obtained their own distillers license and began to make their rum from scratch, an unusual practice within the UK as rum is typically imported and redistilled.  

Becky Hunt, co-founder, Old Mother Hunt, said: “We conducted market research to find out what was popular in Scotland. As the drinks market is saturated by gin, we decided to distil rum and learnt about the process and flavours. We then approached Business Gateway for help to launch the business.”  

The couple accessed a package of support across Business Gateway’s start-up and growth services, including 1:1 business advice and support with their business plan. They received assistance with marketing and attended a digital marketing strategy webinar, an online tutorial presenting an overview of the digital marketing landscape and a session on how to improve digital engagement. These sessions increased their confidence in social media marketing and e-commerce and helped them incorporate these strategies into their business.  

Old Mother Hunt worked closely with Business Gateway to identify areas where they could improve their online presence.  Matt and Becky received dedicated 1:1 specialist support through a DigitalBoost e-commerce business surgery session which included recommendations on how to improve traffic to their website.  Old Mother Hunt has now made substantial improvements to its website and doubled visits to its website. This has increased their turnover by 65%. 

Becky said: “In the beginning, setting up on our own gave us something to focus on during the pandemic. However, now we have a thriving business that includes a core range of rum, silver, spiced and golden, as well as special limited-edition flavours. We’ve become specialists in a short space of time, deliberately distilling our rum in small batches, so we can continue to craft the perfect rum and hone on the distinctive flavours of each rum. 

“We are now growing after a relatively short period, all while juggling the challenges of the pandemic and raising a young family. Business Gateway has been a key partner to us throughout this period, and ensured we know as much about running a business as we do about rum.”  

Keith Elrick, adviser, Business Gateway, said: “Old Mother Hunt is working in a crowded market., but Becky and Matt have worked hard to carve out a portion of the industry and provide a welcome new offering for customers. 

“They have made full use of the diverse support provided by the Business Gateway services, which has helped them upskill and grow their business. For anyone else in a similar position, we would encourage them to contact their local Business Gateway office.”