Breweries, distilleries move to produce hand sanitiser

Businesses join the fight against COVID-19 by commencing local production of hand sanitiser.

A number of Australian businesses have joined the fight against COVID-19 by commencing local production of hand sanitiser.

Australian hand sanitiser producers have recently ramped up production in an effort to keep up with unprecedented demand as a result of the global coronavirus outbreak.

Australia’s largest manufacturer of rigid plastics Pact Group announced its production of hand sanitiser is expected to be in full swing by mid-April, when the group expects to be making about 2 million units of hand sanitiser per month.

The sanitiser will be packaged in 500ml, 1-litre, and 2-litre bottles, as well as in 50ml tubes, with all packaging will be manufactured by Pact Group. Production will take place at one of its Sydney facilities and filling will take place at three other factories in Sydney. Three of the four sites will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while one will operate 24 hours a day, six days a week.

To achieve the production goal Pact will increase hours for permanent staff and casual workers. Approximately 95 per cent of the new product is expected to be sold in Australia.

Unilever, the consumer goods manufacturer of brands including Dove, Rexona, Lifebuoy, TRESemme, OMO, Surf, Streets and Continental, is also is increasing production further by adapting its current manufacturing lines to produce sanitiser for use in hospitals, schools and other institutional settings.

Clive Stiff, CEO Unilever Australia and New Zealand, said: “Australia and New Zealand are nations that have overcome a lot over the past year. What we have learnt during this challenging period is that it is imperative we work together as a community. Our factories are operating 24/7 to try keep shelves stocked with essential food, personal care and cleaning products.

“We are also working around the clock with our partners, customers, industry groups and government to identify ways our business can contribute to national efforts in tackling the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. We will fight this together.”

Distilleries shift production focus

Local distilleries have also shifted their production focus to produce hand sanitiser to not only assist consumers, but to also support the redeployment of their staff.

Hospitality Magazine reports Manly Spirits Co and Archie Rose in Sydney and Adelaide’s Prohibition Liquor Co have released hand sanitiser products into the market, which are now available to purchase.

Prohibition produced 200 100ml bottles of juniper-scented hand sanitiser that will be given away with 500/700ml sales of gin until there’s none left.


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You may have heard – PLC HAND SANITISER – it’s real! Apart from trying to remain business as usual with supplying gin to all our customers by keeping online deliveries going, we asked, “What can a distillery do to help fight the COVID-19 crisis?… Make a hand sanitiser.” Like everyone else out there, we were searching everywhere for a hand sanitiser for our venue to ensure we keep our staff and customers safe, and like everyone else we simply couldn’t buy it. Being a distillery and having access to high strength alcohol we decided to make a small batch of our own. Let’s start by saying we are not in the hand sanitiser business and don’t intend to be, but we figured if we are going to make it for ourselves, why not make a small batch for the broader Prohibition Family? We have produced just 200 bottles of this product, bottled in a 100ml glass bottle, juniper scented spray hand sanitiser. Whilst it is just a small batch, its our way of giving back, so apart from using it in our venue we will also be giving a bottle away with every bottle of gin (500ml/700ml) sold until stocks run out. If you prefer to stay indoors, we are still here for you. Our website is accessible 24/7 and we will continue to supply our gin nationwide with free home delivery. If there should be any changes we will endeavour to keep you updated as we are informed. Prohibition was born out of passion and love – love of gin and love of our customers and community. There is nothing we care about more than your safety and well-being. We thank you for your continued support as we all navigate through these uncertain times. We look forward to a brighter future in the coming months. Until then, take care of yourselves, stay safe and be kind. We’re all in this together. Cheers @prohibitionliquor Team #sanitiser #sanitizer #supportlocal #givingback

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Manly Spirits Co is churning out 5L containers for community groups and created a 50ml sanitiser with gin aroma that customers will receive for free with every purchase.


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Coming soon! It’s not quite business as usual here at Manly Spirits Co. Distillery. 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. ⁠ ⁠ From next week, we will be supplying 20 x 5L containers of hand sanitiser to local community groups and organisation. If you are a local charity or organisation in need, please get in contact with us by emailing ⁠ ⁠ Plus, all of our amazing Manly Spirits customers will receive a FREE 50ml Manly Spirits Hand Sanitiser with Gin Aroma, with every purchase. ⁠ A special thanks to our Brookvale friends, Ecowash Solutions, for donating 5L containers & pumps and making it possible to help our community. ⁠ ⁠ If you have access to 5L dangerous goods plastic containers with a pump, and you want to donate, please also get in contact with us!⁠

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Archie Rose has also released 4500 500ml bottles of hand sanitiser yesterday, with the product selling out almost immediately.

“We’re in a unique position to manufacture this essential product – with the required federal licences, dangerous goods approvals, access to raw materials and expertise – so we’re now making hand sanitiser our production focus,” said founder, Will Edwards.


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Waiting on the first batch of Archie Rose Hand Sanitiser? We hear you. We as a business and team, along with the retail and hospitality industries—and all Australians—are facing incredibly difficult times which includes today’s shutdown of bar service at the Archie Rose Bar in Rosebery, Sydney. This sadly impacts our 20-plus bar and hospitality team. In an effort to bolster supplies nationwide and maintain the employment of as many of our team as possible, we have now re-allocated our spirits production capacity to hand sanitiser, with approximately 4,500 x 500ml bottles available to purchase via the Archie Rose website right now. The product formulation follows the World Health Organisation guidelines for effective and safe sanitiser, while also featuring Archie Rose’s own natural grapefruit, cassia, cardamom and thyme botanical distillates from our gin production. According to our founder, Will Edwards: “We’re in a unique position to manufacture this essential product —with the required federal licences, dangerous goods approvals, access to raw materials and expertise—and so we’re now making hand sanitiser our production focus. We will continue to produce sanitiser for as long as we can, or as long as is required, and this will also support the redeployment of as many of our full time bar staff as possible to assist in filling, packaging and shipping the product.” Pre-order begins now at $20 per bottle with a purchase limit of 6 bottles per person to ensure as many people as possible get fair access to this product. The first batch will leave the distillery this Thursday 26 March. Link in bio. 🙏🧼

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“We will continue to produce sanitiser for as long as we can, or as long as is required and this will also support the redeployment of as many of our full-time bar staff as possible to assist in filling, packaging and shipping the product.”

The distillery have used a product formulation based on the World Health Organisation’s guidelines while utilising ingredients including grapefruit, cassia, cardamom and thyme botanical distillates from the brand’s gin production.

Breweries take action 

Two Western Australia-based breweries SPINIFEX Brewing Co and Limestone Coast Brewing have also joined forces to produce World Health Organisation grade sanitiser using about 80 per cent ethanol.

“As the COVID-19 virus continues to wreak havoc on the world and in response to limited vital medical supplies, increasing shortages and disruptions to supply chains, SPINIFEX Brewing Co and Limestone Coast Brewing are stepping up to the plate and immediately moving to the production of High Alcohol Content Hand Sanitiser for supply to Western Australia,” the companies stated on their websites.

Meanwhile, Beenleigh Rum Distillery – Australia’s oldest distillery – and Bundaberg Rum Distillery will commence production this week of ethanol for hand sanitiser immediately, using existing production lines and staff.

Angelo Kotses, managing director of the Bickfords Group of Companies and owner of the Beenleigh Distillery, said the idea to transition to hand sanitiser came from the need to keep their own workers safe.

“Ethanol is the key ingredient of hand sanitiser, and we already produce ethanol for our alcohol products,” Kotses said.

“We originally planned a small run of only 1500 cartons, but when the Queensland Government approached us we were more than happy to help by providing hand sanitiser for essential needs throughout the state.”

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.”

Time for businesses to “think laterally and broadly”

Queensland Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the department is working to identify more manufacturers around the state who can quickly transition to the production of hand sanitiser.

“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.

“We want to see more of this and are ready and eager to work with and support manufacturers who can help us get more products into our hospitals, our schools and our supermarkets and stores.

“This is the time to think laterally and broadly about how you and your business can adapt and contribute to our state’s COVID-19 coronavirus response.”

The minister said government will continue to reach out to manufacturers, suppliers and producers to identify any issues in the supply chain and help investigate ways to keep businesses open by retooling.

“We are talking to manufacturers from right across Queensland who are willing and able to transition their production into essential health care supplies and other necessities,” he said.

More than 1700 cases of the virus have been confirmed across the country, as Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory close their borders to domestic travellers.

Of the 1709 confirmed cases in Australia, seven have died from COVID-19. More than 143,000 tests have been conducted across Australia.

Across the world there have been more than 300,700 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 13,900 deaths.

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