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That's the spirit: Distilleries switch to making hand sanitiser to help with COVID-19 fight

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By Luke Hurst  with AP
A worker bottles hand sanitizer made at the Eight Oaks Farm Distillery in the USA
A worker bottles hand sanitizer made at the Eight Oaks Farm Distillery in the USA   -   Copyright  AP

Distilleries and breweries around the world are part of an industry that has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak.

With many countries shutting down pubs, restaurants and shops, artisan alcohol makers are feeling the pinch.

But some are fighting back.

With distilleries using high-percentage alcohol as part of their manufacturing process, they have a key ingredient ready for one product that’s in high demand everywhere right now: hand sanitiser.

Verdant Spirits in Dundee, Scotland, uses a 96% grain alcohol to make its spirits. Its owner Andrew Mackenzie, said: “Somebody flagged up to us that there is a recipe on the World Health Organization website that is very clear and straightforward and is fine to work with.”

He says the phone has been ringing ever since news got out that he had decided to start making sanitiser.

And from Manila to Pennsylvania, alcoholic drinks companies are joining the fight against COVID-19.

One distillery owner grew increasingly angry as he saw the skyrocketing price of hand sanitiser, so he decided to do something about it, switching the rum, vodka and whiskey he usually makes, for hand sanitiser.

Eight Oaks Farm Distillery in Pennsylvania has already filled its first 20 bottles, and plans to dramatically boost production and distribute the bottles to charities as well as offering them at farmers' markets where it sells its spirits, and through its website.