So, what else is happening in the industry?
A lot of distilleries have been looking at switching their production to making hand sanitiser. Hand sanitiser needs a high alcohol percentage in order to be effective and distilleries are usually in plentiful supply of a 95% (190 proof) neutral spirit which they distill from. Along with a couple of other ingredients, distilleries are successfully making and distributing much needed stock to those in need. Some are even adding some of their botanicals to make it a little more pleasant!
As you can imagine, the demand is high but a lot has been sent out to those on the front line with the public being able to purchase a smaller quantity through their websites. The support from the public is helping to fund the vital production with some doing promos where by you’ll get a bottle with an online order.
I contacted four local (ish) distilleries to see what their processes were. Karl and Lindsey from Forest Gin in Macclesfield told me ‘we are indeed making a hand sanitiser. All to WHO standards. Most of it is going to local care homes, and we’ve a large quantity heading to a charity which looks after disadvantaged young people. Anything left over is sold at cost price via our website.’ They have been using some of their neutral spirit but have also been recycling waste from local breweries. They ‘distilled a LOAD of spent beer that Robinsons Brewery and Wincle brewery would have otherwise tipped down the drains when the pubs closed’ which is a brilliant way of reducing waste! Masons Gin in Bedale are no stranger to adversity having faced a huge fire that took hold of their old distillery. Thankfully, no one was hurt and they rose from the ashes with a brand new distillery, visitors centre and shop that opened earlier this year, all of which is now closed again. However, they're facing this head on and working to help where possible. Masons have also been using some of their neutral spirit stocks to make hand sanitiser also to WHO standards with their first batch being sent to the NHS. Whitby Gin have also been busy making WHO standard hand sanitiser with a fair share going to a range of organisations such as The Nightingale Hospital, local fire services, care homes, postal services and hospitals. Luke also told me that they are ‘providing it to people across the UK but mainly in our local area’. They are still making gin and have confirmed that they ‘have a new still on its way soon from Germany’- they already have a name in mind for it too! Finally, Cooper King Distillery in York, who crowd funded their distillery and work to green principles, have been making sanitiser from their neutral spirit stocks and have been sending out to local hospitals, care homes and other front line areas with the likes of Yorkshire Ambulance Service benefitting from it. They have also been giving out little minis of their gin to frontline NHS workers so they can enjoy a post shift g&t! All of the above have been distributing to those in need free of charge and have been able to do so through customers purchasing stock through their websites.
It’s brilliant to hear of how people are adapting and all the great work they are doing to help. There are many out there who are supporting the effort in all sorts of way, thank you to you all and keep up the good work!