Dales distillery overcomes problems to produce alcohol hand sanitiser for local community

A Dales distillery has overcome supply difficulties and distribution challenges to produce alcohol hand sanitiser for the local community.

The Spirit of Swaledale, based near Keld, has produced hundreds of bottles of the sanitiser to help stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Distillery owner Ian Purves said started production after hearing about an Edinburgh distillery which had switched from making gin to help in the fight against the virus.

Ian said, however, the process had been more complicated than expected.

“We opted for a World Health Organisation formulation that is a mixture of alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and glycerine and is 80% alcohol by volume.

“We initially thought this is straight forward – how wrong we were.

“Firstly, it turned out the application to Customs and Excise to convert ethanol to denatured alcohol, and thus duty free, was complicated and rather lengthy.”

Fortunately, on March 25 officials emailed to say their application was no longer needed as they were a trade facility warehouse and were making gin within a bonded warehouse.

Ian added: “Finding consistent supplies of glycerine and hydrogen peroxide was also difficult, but nowhere near as difficult as finding bottles with spray tops

“We have now managed to source appropriately sized bottles together with pouches that can be used to refill the them.

“Then we discovered a problem with distribution as neither the Post Office nor DHL would carry hand sanitiser that is 80% abv.”

The distillery’s solution was to create a local distribution network in upper Swaledale.

With the help of the Little White Bus which transports the boxes of hand sanitiser they are now able to extend this network to Richmond.

Newcastle Building Society, which has a branch at Hawes Community Office, has also paid for 500 bottles of the hand sanitiser to be given to residents in Hawes, Reeth, Gunnerside, Muker and Keld.

Ian said: “We have put a supply of sanitiser in a ten litre bucket in the Farmers Arms, Muker for people to refill their spray bottles.

“Recently we have been asked to supply sanitiser to general practices, community nurses and carers hopefully we will have capacity to supply further outlets in Swaledale and Wensleydale.

“Meanwhile we are still distilling real craft and flavoursome Yorkshire Gin and shipping with DHL all-round the country. We are also in the final phases of developing a new golden spiced rum which will be available later this year.”

Leyburn distillery Taplin & Mageean are also producing an alcohol hand rub to help in the fight against Covid-19.

To contact Spirit of Swaleale click here. [kofi]