Distilleries hand sanitiser

Distilleries switch to producing hand sanitiser

March 17, 2020
By Alana House

Distilleries around the world are producing hand sanitiser to help fight against the spread of the coronavirus.

There have been massive shortages of hand sanitiser in recent weeks following panic buying.

Pernod Ricard is talking to government authorities in France, Spain, Ireland and Sweden about how it can assist them.

Spokesperson Olivier Cavil said: “We have been mobilising and looking at how we can supply our 96 proof alcohol to partners to produce sanitising gel.

“Several options are being considered, and the taxes and regulations in countries may complicate matters.”

Paula Eriksson, communications manager for The Absolut Company, has said the vodka producer is “happy to help”.

“We can deliver the neutral alcohol by itself if the receiving authorities can help with the rest,” she tweeted.

TX Whiskey hand sanitiser

In the US, Pernod Ricard’s TX Whiskey (above) has also started producing hand sanitiser.

The Bacardi Corporation distillery in Cataño, Puerto Rico, where more than 80% of the company’s rums are produced, is shifting a part of the production to supply ethanol required to produce and donate over half a million hand sanitisers to the local community. The temporary shift in production began on March 17 and will continue as needed.

LVMH, the parent company of Moet Hennessy, is now using its perfume factories to make the product for hospitals.

“LVMH intends to help address the risk of a lack of product in France and enable a greater number of people to continue to take the right action to protect themselves from the spread of the virus,” the company said in a statement.

In the Philippines, San Miguel Corporation said it is looking to produce and give away rubbing alcohol for free.

It plans to use the facilities of Ginebra San Miguel Inc, its liquor production unit, to produce 70% ethyl alcohol, which it wants to distribute to public hospitals and local government units.

Production of sanitiser started at the plant over the weekend, which is now being used within the facility and for employees.

“We are working on getting the necessary clearances from the relevant government agencies to produce this for public use,” SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon Ang said in a statement.

Ang said SMC is targeting donations in large containers, which may be used to disinfect government, healthcare, and public facilities.

In Jamaica, J Wray and Nephew will forego approximately $250 million in potential revenue in order to assist the government to fight the pandemic.

The spirits manufacturer will donate 100,000 litres of high strength alcohol to be used as a sanitising and cleaning agent, mostly to hospitals and homes.

In the US, many craft distillers are making hand sanitiser and distributing it for free.

“Due to the recent reports of outages and low supply in our community, We have decided to provide hand sanitizer free of charge to anyone in need. Made with aloe vera gel and 95% ethanol,” Old Fourth Distillery in Atlanta wrote in an Instagram post last week.

“This is no substitute for washing your hands but in a pinch it will get the job done. Available at the Distillery starting March 12th at 5pm. If you have a container please bring it and we will be happy to fill it!”

Moonrise Distillery in Clayton, Georgia, is making hand sanitiser using botanical gin infused with natural aloe vera.

“We are a community of huggers and hand shakers and we want to do our part to keep that warmth around but in as safe a manner as possible,” the business wrote in a Facebook post over the weekend. “While washing hands with soap and water remains the best solution we hope the sanitizer will help when that is not possible.”

Durham Distillery in Durham, North Carolina, is helping out its colleagues in the hospitality industry who are in need of sanitizing solution. The distillery developed a sanitizing solution of about 70% ethanol and distilled water and is donating it to hospitality workers so that they can wipe down high-touch surfaces like door handles and sink faucets, it said in a statement.

Shine Distillery hand sanitiser

Shine Distillery in Oregon said last week that it was handing out free hand sanitiser while supplies last.

In California, Prohibition Spirits has created three flavours of hand sanitiser that evoke popular cocktails: key lime margarita, old-fashioned, and piña colada.

The British Honey Company said its distillery in Buckinghamshire, southern England, will start producing hand sanitiser after receiving permission from Britain’s treasury.

“Being able to produce such an in demand product within our existing capabilities enhances our existing business model at the same time as assisting with the efforts to combat the spread of Covid-19,” Chief Executive Michael Williams said.

In Ireland, Bronagh Conlon, owner of Listoke Distillery and Gin School in county Louth, has diverted production to bottled sanitisers, which it is selling at cost price to local companies, doctors’ surgeries and nursing homes, while also donating some to charities. 

Four Pillars hand sanitiser

In Australia, numerous distilleries have also pivoted to produce hand sanitiser. Four Pillars, for example, has started selling a production run of 20,000 litres of two hand sanitiser products: one called Take Care, sold in bulk to health professionals, the other called Heads, Tails & Clean Hands, an aromatic, gin-scented product aimed at consumers.

“By doing this, by diverting a fair bit of our production away from gin to hand sanitiser, we’ve been able to keep nearly 30 people employed, on the bottling line, packing boxes,” head distiller Cameron McKenzie told the Australian Financial Review.

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