Drinks brands switch to making hand sanitiser


One of the many negative aspects of the coronavirus pandemic is the anti-social behaviour it has triggered among some people, as seen in the UK with incidents of hoarding and panic buying, but happily several drinks brands are working for the common good.

Breweries and distillers in the UK and Ireland have begun producing emergency supplies of alcohol-based hand sanitiser for charities and health authorities amid unprecedented demand for the product.

BrewDog, for example, is now making hand sanitiser at its plant in Aberdeenshire and the Scottish beer brand said it would give away its “Punk Sanitiser” for free to those who need it, the Guardian reported.

“We are determined to do everything we can to try and help as many people as possible stay safe,” said James Watt, the founder of BrewDog.

Independent gin producers are also switching production, including Bristol-based Psychopomp Microdistillery, 58 Gin in London and Dundee-based Verdant Spirits, which plans to produce 400 litres of hand sanitiser gel starting this week.

They and other brands are assisted in their endeavour following a decision by HMRC, the UK tax authority, to shorten the application process to become a manufacturer of “denatured alcohol” from 40 days to five. Denatured alcohol, which is unfit for drinking, is also exempt from tax.

Meanwhile, similar charitable work is taking place in the Republic of Ireland where, the Irish Times reported, Irish Distillers, the maker of the Jameson and Powers whiskey brands, announced that its Midleton distillery in County Cork can make large quantities of alcohol gel free of charge.

“We are committed to maintaining supply to the maximum levels possible for as long as possible. Like so many, Irish Distillers is doing what we can at a time of great national crisis,” the company said.

“We hope that in doing so, it helps our healthcare professionals in their efforts to protect all of us from the spread of the virus.”

And in France luxury goods giant LVMH has switched production at its cosmetics and perfume factories to begin making 12 tonnes of hand sanitiser as early as this week.

This article first appeared in www.warc.com

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