BLUEPRINTS for a new rum distillery - underneath city centre railway arches - are being brought to life by two schoolfriends from Leigh.

James Harrison and Tommy Gaughan have had their eye on a unit in Viaduct Street, Salford, for the Dirty Old Town Distillery.

The pair launched Salford Rum in 2018, after watching their wives drinking gin from a long list of alternatives - and thinking their options as rum aficionados were more limited.

Inspired by ingredients imported to the old Salford Docks, the duo spent eight months researching rum and created their first concoction.

They each paid £3,000 to a local small batch distillery for the first 200 bottles – and within one weekend, they sold out at a makers’ market in Manchester.

Three years on, they produce thousands of bottles a year which can now be found in major supermarkets – and all while they still work full-time jobs.

James, who works as operations risk manager for a life pensions and investments company, said: “It’s still pretty crazy to be honest. We’ve both got 9-to-5 jobs and we run Salford Rum every other hour of the day.”

Their new distillery venture would be located under Salford’s railway arches, in premises last used as a martial arts studio.

Proposals are in place for a bar and rum garden with an events space. The theme will be ‘rustic’ and ‘industrial’ with rum barrels to be used as tables. The pair secured planning permission in July.

Small batch products and unique rum blends will also be produced in-house at the new distillery which will offer customers a chance to try before they buy.

But most importantly, the Dirty Old Town Distillery will be an opportunity for the business to base its first physical space within the city which inspired it.

Tommy, who also works for an energy drinks firm, added: "We wanted a brand that represented local heritage and history. We looked at the history of the rums coming through Salford Docks and it’s a great story and we wanted that to be embedded in the brand and the product.”

The rum is sold in ceramic bottles with wooden tops – the type of vessel liquids would arrive in at the docks around the turn of the 20th century – and each one features a doodled map of the dockyard, designed by local artist Dave Draws.

The distillery should be open by the start of next year though the partners are eager to open the doors sooner if possible.