A helping hand – these Australian distilleries are pivoting from booze to hand-sanitiser production
While we know and love them for making our favourite gins, whiskies, rums and vodkas, a bunch of Australian craft distilleries are pivoting away from spirits and toward the production of arguably one of the most valuable, highly demanded products in the world right now. No, it’s not toilet paper – we’re talking about alcohol-based hand sanitiser. By stepping in, repurposing and adapting to meet demand in these unforeseen circumstances, distilleries have found a new revenue stream in keeping your hands clean – and it also allows them to stay open (for now) and keep their staff employed. So, if your local supermarket has run out of precious sani’, don’t stress – these booze makers have got your back, as always.
Cape Byron Distillery and Brookie’s Gin
The awarded Byron Bay gin maker is adapting to the meet this overwhelming demand by producing a high-quality, alcohol-based, natural sanitiser, scented with its own rainforest gin and limes. The hand and surface sanitisers were developed by Pamela Brook (co-founder of Brookfarm and Cape Byron Distillery) and includes ethanol, byproducts of the production of Brookie’s Gin, charcoal-filtered Mt Warning spring water, vegetable glycerine, aloe vera and citrus oil. A statement from from the distillery outlined that the production of this product means that there will be consistent employment for the Brookie’s team given the downturn in gin sales as a result of the closure of its cellar door and other hospitality venues around Australia. The sanitisers will be available in 500-ml recyclable bottles online via the website and at local retailers and pharmacies.
This small, family-run distillery in Miami has been working hard to release its first batch of liquid hand and surface sanitisers, which will be available for pick-up or home delivery from Sunday March 29. Head distiller and co-owner Luke Ridden has crafted the sanitiser with all-natural ingredients and infused it with lemon myrtle, grapefruit, rose hip, tea tree and peppermint oil. The bottles are one litre so they’ll last you quite a while. Head to the website to order. Heck, why not buy a bottle of gin off them while you’re at it?
The Messenger family and the Husk Distillers team has also quickly responded to the dire shortage of hand sanitiser, and has converted its Tumbulgum estate into a sanitiser-production facility. While the Husk team has been giving their sanitiser away to local schools and charities, it’s also available to purchase online. Head to the Husk website to order and get it delivered to your door – or if you live nearby, you can drop into the distillery to pick up.
Lord Byron Distillery
This Byron Bay craft distillery has been making and selling hand sanitiser at cost price as a ‘community service’ in a time of urgent need for the Northern Rivers region. Locals can head to the distillery and fill up for $3 per 100 ml, or you can get small 50 ml pre-filled bottles for $2. You can purchase the bottles online as well (once they are back in stock), but while you’re there do these guys a favour and treat yourself to a bottle of one of their premium spirits and support them while they continue to produce sanitiser for the safety of the Byron Bay community, not for their pockets.
Famed for creating gin, vodka and whisky (whey-sky) with sheep’s whey, this renowned Tassie distillery has now dropped its own bottles of sheep-whey sanitiser. The 500-ml bottles feature the same hand-written labels as its drinkable booze and are infused with lemon myrtle for a citrus lift. They are available via the website only – allow about 5–7 days for delivery.
Brisbane Distillery Company
Owner and head distiller Jon Atherton decided to change up his usual gin-making routine – repurposing products and equipment to create Brisbane’s first locally made sanitiser. Healthcare workers are able to purchase the hospital-grade sanitiser for a discounted price of $16 per litre (upon presentation of a business card or professional registration on collection at the Brisbane Distillery in West End), while the public can purchase 500-ml bottles at a maximum purchase quantity of four per customer. You can order via the Brisbane Distillery Company’s website.
Archie Rose Distilling Co
While it may be one of the bigger players, the downturn of the hospitality industry has also severely impacted the popular Sydney distillery. In order to keep staff employed, Archie Rose has also reallocated its spirits-production capacity to hand sanitiser. Using the botanical distillate from its gin production, Archie Rose is producing batches of 500-ml bottles and releasing them through its online store. Jump here to secure yours.
While it’s know for crafting coffee liqueurs that add fuel to our favourite cocktails, Mr Black has diverted its attention to making navy-strength sanitiser, produced in partnership with Distillery Botanica. At 80 percent ethanol, it’s stronger than most commercial sanitiser, and is suitable for both hands and surfaces. You can order direct from the Mr Black website.
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