Distillers Licence Success

In my last blog post I went over the physical launch of Old Mother Hunt. There was so much we didn’t know and it wasn’t until we started trading and running the business publicly that we realised how much we still had to learn! I guess part of being a business owner is learning on the job and we’ve definitely got that part covered.

Christmas 2020 is just a crazy blur of memories- trying to keep up with orders, packing, shipping, restocking, getting Christmas presents for the kids, learning how to take half decent photographs all while working for NHS Test & Protect. It’s fair to say we had zero work life balance in the first few months- every single atom of our beings were poured into OMH and I ended up getting a horrid ear infection that wouldn’t go away- blood coming out of your ear isn’t exactly what you want when you’re meeting prospective clients!

Everything inevitably calmed down in January and as Scotland was in lockdown from Boxing Day onwards; our business became focused on individual customer sales rather than trade sales. To be honest I found this particular lockdown incredibly hard- we weren’t able to see any family; it rained all the time and we were stuck in the house for weeks on end. The kids were bored, we were bored and it just reeked of impending doom. I know I wasn’t alone in finding that period hard, everyone I spoke to felt the same and when the better weather arrived, we all grabbed it with both hands and held on for dear life.

Those first few months of 2021 were incredibly demanding as we were going through the final stages of our Distillers’ Licence review. As I’m sure you already know, we initially had to contract out the distillation of the pure white rum and re-distil and spice it ourselves, to prove to HMRC that we were a legitimate, honest company that could handle duty sales. Nothing creates stress like the excise team and HMRC inspecting every aspect of your finances, plans and business! Thankfully it was soon over and in May 2021 we were the incredibly proud and excited owners of our very own Distillers Licence. That meant that we could now own the whole process from beginning to end. We could make our own ferments, choose our yeasts and distil our own rum!! This is still really unusual in the UK as most rum is imported and then finished- spiced or flavoured here. OMH is such a personal business, we started it as a life line, not a side hustle and it was so important that we could be responsible for the whole process.

The major difference that comes from distilling your own spirit is that you can suddenly make rum that is 100% unique to you. Each distiller will make their own cuts (deciding where to cut off the heads and tails and exactly what part of the distillate gets bottled as the final product) based on their taste and their preferences. This is what I love about rum, it’s so full of flavour and attitude and has such a huge range of tastes depending on the type of still used and where the distiller has made the cuts.