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Scottish distillers pledge 13.5 million litres of ethanol for hand sanitiser

Published:  23 April, 2020

Distillers across Scotland have currently pledged over 13.5 million litres of ethanol to support the production of more than 54 million bottles of hand sanitiser. 

In addition to this, hand sanitiser is being produced locally to meet demand in local communities from care homes, the police, local councils and food manufacturing.

The Scottish Whisky Association (SWA), which set up an online portal to connect distillers with frontline health services and other organisations in need of hand sanitiser or ethanol for medical purposes, said its portal had proven an “invaluable tool in connecting those”. 

“It has been great to see Scotch Whisky producers pivoting to support frontline services in the fight against Covid-19. Large and small distillers have responded quickly to calls for support from the NHS, care homes, charities, and local service providers, such as councils,” said Karen Betts, chief executive of the SWA. 

“Large amounts of ethanol have been provided at scale, for both hand sanitiser and sterilisation purposes. Many community organisations have also been supported locally with hand sanitiser being supplied direct to them by Scotch Whisky producers,” she added. 

Since launch three weeks ago, the SWA has seen more than 130 submissions for the portal.   

The portal enables distillers to state if they can provide hand sanitiser or ethanol and in what quantities, while other companies can state if they can supply key ingredients for the production of sanitiser, or if they can assist with packaging or distribution. 

Organisations that need sanitiser or ethanol can use the portal to say what they need, and dozens of community care providers, prisons, NHS trusts and funeral homes, have registered their requirements.

The SWA has created manufacturing guidance on hand sanitiser and ethanol for producers looking to support demand, containing details on effective alcohol levels for use in combatting the virus. It has also worked with HMRC to allow distillers to manufacture sanitiser without needing to pay duty on the alcohol in it, if it is made to WHO specifications.