Coronavirus Sees Businesses, Distilleries Adapt


Australian manufacturers have responded to the need for hand sanitiser amid the coronavirus crisis, as distilleries around the country transition into production.

Queensland-based Beenleigh Rum Distillery and Bundaberg Rum Distillery will focus on the production of ethanol for hand sanitiser using existing production lines and staff.

The distilleries join former one-day cricket captain Shane Warne’s Seven Zero Eight Gin distillery in producing medical grade 70 per cent alcohol hand sanitiser “until further notice”.

The World Health Organisation advises at least 60 per cent.

Warne says an agreement has been made to provide a continuous supply to two nominated Western Australia hospitals.

Australia’s oldest distillery Beenleigh Rum will commence the production of hand sanitiser this week, with arrangements in place to supply the Queensland government to ensure a supply for schools and frontline workers.

“Ethanol is the key ingredient of hand sanitiser, and we already produce ethanol for our alcohol products," Bickfords Group managing director and owner of the Beenleigh Distillery Angelo Kotses said.

Bundaberg Rum will move forward with the production of ethanol to donate 100,000 litres, this is enough to produce around 500,000 bottles, to the Queensland government.

“At a time like this we will always step up and contribute when Australians need it most,” Bundaberg Rum’s parent company Diageo Australia managing director David Smith said.

Related: Coronavirus: 3D Printers Help Hospital Patients

▲ Bundaberg Rum joins distilleries across Australia making hand sanitiser amid coronavirus.
▲ Bundaberg Rum joins distilleries across Australia making hand sanitiser amid COVID-19.

Planning minister Cameron Dick said the state government will reach out to manufacturers and suppliers to identify issues in the supply chain particularly with the ability to transition production into health care supplies, and necessities.

“This is the time to think broadly about how you and your business can adapt and contribute to our state’s Covid-19 coronavirus response, Dick said.

“You might think it’s a long shot but innovation is critical right now.”

A web page for manufacturers who could move into untraditional production areas has been established by the Queensland government.

“And we’ll work to connect them with any new suppliers, producers and networks they may need.”

Around the globe business brands have turned their focus towards the push against coronavirus.

High end fashion brands including Prada and Kering owned Balenciaga, Saint Laurent and Gucci have joined efforts in manufacturing medical overalls and face masks.

While Taiwan, located closely to mainland China, moved to organise prisons to produce face masks. It’s understood since February inmates have produced more than 50,000. At time of writing Taiwan has 215 confirmed cases of Covid-19.

American tech giants, Facebook donated 720,000 protective face masks to frontline hospital workers, and Apple said it is donating 9 million.

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