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Hand Sanitiser - permission granted

Good news! We were given permission by HMRC to make hand sanitiser.

In order to achieve this, we have been actively working with distillery owners and friends across the UK along with professional advisors including the British Distilling Association and the Scottish Whisky Association. It is only due to this work and their contacts high up in government that this has happened.

There were particular problems for those of us in Scotland due to minimum alcohol pricing (our advisor indicated that no one else had realised this) and we are glad that the option we put forward to resolve this has been made available by HMRC.

HMRC have eased procedures so that anyone who makes drinks using alcohol can make hand sanitiser whether they are a distillery or not. Scotland has a lot of alcoholic drinks producers so that means that there will probably be someone close to you who will be making it.

There are a lot of drinks producers now working to make the sanitiser – we urge you to find and obtain your sanitiser from whoever is closest to your physical location (we had a query from a nursing home in Cornwall….).

There are larger producers who are already supplying bulk needs – for example, Brewdog are suppling Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. We are therefore going to focus on supply it to the public.

We are required to make the sanitiser to the exact recipe that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has provided. I’m afraid this means no fancy smells or colours!

It will take us a couple of days to manufacture the liquid due to required resting time.

We will be operating a refill your container service rather than get a new container. You can use any container that has a spray or pump or even foam dispenser and everyone has these at home somewhere. This reduces plastic in the world which is also a good thing. It also reduces the cost of the sanitiser which means we can give it away for free. Most retail hand sanitisers in the shops are 50ml or 100ml so we will strictly limit any one person to that amount.

Note that we continue to be “licensed premises” and therefore only adults are allowed in the distillery.

UPDATE

Around an hour after writing the above, the Prime Minister announced the “lock down” of the country.

Given we are specialising in supplying to the public, and that we were intending to refill/reuse containers rather than create more plastic waste – we now have a problem.

We closed all of our “on” operations when the Prime Minister made his first announcement a week or so ago. And as what is left has the character of being “take away” we think we could still open.

However, looking at the spirit of what the Prime Minster is trying to achieve with this lock down, we don’t think it would be right or proper to invite people to leave their homes and visit the distillery to pick up hand sanitiser.

The Prime Minister was very clear that the single most important thing we can do to fight coronavirus is to stay at home. This action will protect the NHS and save lives.

The fact is that you can wash your hands at home with soap and water which is no more and no less effective than using alcohol based hand sanitiser. It is impossible to argue that it is worth putting lives at risk for something that is non-essential.

Today’s update on deaths in Spain and Italy is heart-breaking and is a reminder of what we must do.

Unfortunately, the highly regulated environment we operating in – as we are a distillery – and the passage of time and events have worked against this project.

So, at the moment we cannot distribute the hand sanitiser safely, but we will keep this under close review. For example, when the restrictions are relaxed, we can carry on with the plan then. Until then, the distillery will remain closed to the public.

Stay safe, and keep washing those hands with highly effective soap!