Queensland rum distillers produce hand sanitiser

March 23, 2020
By Alana House

Two iconic Queensland rum distillers have stepped up to help the state during the COVID-19 crisis by ensuring a supply of much-needed hand sanitiser.

Beenleigh Rum Distillery and Bundaberg Rum Distillery will focus on the production of ethanol for hand sanitiser immediately, using existing production lines and staff.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick praised the rum distillers: “Beenleigh Rum – Australia’s oldest distillery – will commence the production of hand sanitiser this week and have arrangements to supply the Queensland Government to ensure we have a ready supply for schools and frontline workers.

“Bundaberg Rum is also going full steam ahead with the production of ethanol, and will donate 100,000 litres – enough to produce around 500,000 bottles – to the Queensland Government.

“I can’t thank these mighty Queensland manufacturers enough.”

David Smith, Managing Director of Bundaberg Rum’s parent company Diageo Australia, said the company had a duty to support the community in this unprecedented time of need through its donation of ethanol.

“Bundaberg Rum is a Queensland icon, we’ve felt the love of Australians since our distillery was first established more than 130 years ago in 1888,” Smith said.

“At a time like this we will always step up and contribute when Australians need it most.”

Diageo pledges more than 8 million bottles of sanitiser to healthcare workers

Diageo has pledged to create more than eight million bottles of hand sanitiser worldwide, by donating one and a half million litres of alcohol to manufacturing partners, to help protect front-line healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19.

It will provide Grain Neutral Spirit (GNS) – a 96% strength ethyl alcohol used primarily in production of vodka and gin – and make it available at no cost to hand sanitiser producers, to help overcome shortages in healthcare systems. This donation will enable the production of more than eight million 250ml bottles of hand sanitiser. 

Diageo continues to engage with national and local governments across the many countries where the company has major distilling operations. The spirit will be made available in supply chains according to local circumstances, working with the relevant authorities and hand sanitiser manufacturers. This will ensure the donation is used for maximum impact in protecting health workers and patients and that sanitiser reaches the front-line as quickly as possible.

“Health care workers are at the forefront of fighting this pandemic and we are determined to do what we can to help protect them,” said Ivan Menezes, Diageo Chief Executive. “This is the quickest and most effective way for us to meet the surging demand for sanitiser around the world.”

Bacardi & Pernod Ricard join the cause

Bacardi brands are uniting to support the production of over 1 million litres of hand sanitiser.

This week, eight Bacardi-owned manufacturing sites across the United States, Mexico, France, England, Italy and Scotland are joining the efforts, following last week’s announcement that Bacardi in Puerto Rico would supply alcohol to make hand sanitisers.

Across the sites, Bacardi is diverting its global production power, resources and processes to supply the much-needed alcohol essential for the increased production of hand sanitisers.

TX Whiskey hand sanitiser

Meanwhile, Pernod Ricard is producing hand sanitiser at its distilleries around the world, including TX Whiskey in the US.

Relief efforts by Aussie drinks companies

In NSW, the Archie Rose production team has reallocated its spirits production capacity to hand sanitiser in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Manly Spirits Company hand sanitiser

Meanwhile, Manly Spirits Company is also producing hand sanitiser. It announced last week: “We’ve had a number of local charities and organisations contact us in desperate need of sanitiser for their operations. We knew that making hand sanitiser available for these groups was simply our part to play in these crazy times … and what a wild ride it has been!⁠

“The Manly Spirits Team have spent the last week making this happen, and while there have been some massive hurdles – like there being a nation-wide shortage of containers – we have been overwhelmed by the response of our community coming together and offering solutions. ⁠

Cape Byron Distillery and Brookie’s Gin, Granddad Jack’s, Husk Distillers, Lord Byron Distillery, Hartshorn Distillery and Brisbane Distillery Company are also lending a hand in production.

The distilleries join those worldwide that are creating hand sanitiser to assist during the global shortage.

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