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Hand Sanitiser efforts continue

Following yesterday’s news (see our Facebook/Twitter) that making hand sanitiser with duty-suspended alcohol could lead to a fine for anyone who touches it we set about trying to come up with something a bit more helpful.

It might help to have a clear explanation of what the problem is: If a drinks company makes hand sanitiser with alcohol that was intended for use in drinks, then they probably won’t have any authorised denaturing agent to add to it. A “denaturing agent” is a chemical that cannot easily be removed and makes the alcohol unfit for human consumption.

A gentleman popped into the distillery last week and asked if we would be making hand sanitiser and could it be mixed with coca-cola! And that sums up the problem: The government wants their £28.74/litre of duty + VAT on ALL alcohol that people drink. The Coronavirus pandemic and panic buying of sanitiser has created a situation where people could by-pass this tax.

Some high up people including the Scottish Whisky Association and the British Distiller’s Alliance continue to work on this problem and we know that some brewers/distillers are forging ahead and making sanitiser regardless of the legal position. There is no lack of enthusiasm within the community to do whatever we can to help.

I get the impression that authorising small producers like ourselves may be seen as letting a genie out of the bottle – or at least, that’s the fear. We’ve been told that there is more (legal and clinically tested) hand sanitiser on the way so until then, there are alternatives:

  1. Stop panic buying. Almost every warehouse in the country was filled to the roof in case we got cut off from the EU over Brexit. That stock has NOT been used so there is actually plenty food and supplies.
  2. Alcohol based sanitiser made to the WHO recipe (which is what all distillers are trying to do) is only effective while it is wet on the hands. It is no more and no less effective than washing your hands for 20 seconds WITH SOAP.
  3. Wash your hands.
  4. Alcohol is not the only anti-bacterial and anti-viral agent available. For instance Chlorhexidine can be found in skin creams, mouth wash, and various first aid products in chemists and supermarkets. You can check the packaging to see if they are safe to use on hands and call the customer service number on the packaging if you have any doubt.
I had a look in the shops in Aberdeen and there are lots of these alternatives on the shelves. 

Stay safe and more great stuff coming soon.