A HUNGOVER conversation among a group of friends inspired a local businessman to launch his own brand of rum.

Josh Kerr created Askival Rum after realising that no brand of the drink was created on the Isle of Rum itself.

Now he is following a dream to open a restaurant, bar and distillery there after a crowdfunding campaign raised a remarkable £26,000 in less than three weeks.

Josh, from Skelmrlie, said: “I was at the West Highland Yachting Week in 2019 with a few friends and we could see the mountains of the Isle of Rum in the distance.

“In our hungover state, we chatted about how odd it was nobody actually made rum on the island - and that was the moment we all looked at each other and wondered if we had struck on something.

“We started to look into it more and visited the island.

"We met with locals and told them about our idea and explained how it could bring jobs and opportunities.”

Josh says that the initial launch of Askival, named after the island’s highest point, has been a huge success.

He said: “We managed to get the use of a building on the island at the start of 2020 but then Covid-19 hit and that delayed us quite a bit.

“However, lockdown has presented us with opportunities, and we have met outside for socially-distanced tasting and developed our rum.

“In September last year we ran a crowdfunding campaign to create our first batch and we raised about £26,000 in a couple of weeks by selling bottles and island experiences.

“We produced our first batch not long ago and already have only a handful of those left, which is amazing.”

Josh and his team believe that rum is the next big trend in the drinks industry.

He said: “There have been so many gin brands that have popped up over the last ten years and rum is viewed as the next big thing.

“So many try to tell a story based on their ingredients and the people behind it but ours is very simple - it’s rum from Rum.

“The island is one of the most remote areas in the country and that brings an attraction too."

Josh is currently importing premium rum from the Caribbean, treating it like a sauce and trying to push new flavours with botanicals sourced from the island.

The Skelmorlie engineer hopes to make the rum business a full-time job and create something special for the island.

He said: “Ultimately our main goal is to get to the point where we distil the full Askival product on the Isle of Rum.

“That would bring a lot more opportunities to the island where ultimately we want to employ local people.

“We want to have a restaurant, bar and run distillery tours, because this is such an amazing location, almost like Skye but in miniature.

“The goal is to make this a full-time job for all of us.

"We have only really just started pushing this out and so far it has gone amazingly well.”