UK: Smirnoff Vodka Maker to Donate Pure Alcohol For 8 Million Bottles of Hand Sanitiser

TOPSHOT - Distiller Phil Miller pours hand sanitizers at Spirit of York distillery in Toronto, Ontario, on March 19, 2020. - The company has started to make hand sanitizers since supplies has been running short due to COVID-19. (Photo by Lars Hagberg / AFP) (Photo by LARS HAGBERG/AFP via Getty …
LARS HAGBERG/AFP via Getty Images

The maker of Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff has pledged to donate enough alcohol to produce 8 million bottles of hand sanitiser to help front line medical staff dealing with the Chinese coronavirus.

Diageo, the British based distiller company, said that it will produce two million litres of Grain Neutral Spirit (GNS), a high strength ethyl alcohol typically used to produce vodka and gin. The company will donate the alcohol to hand sanitiser companies and will allow them to produce eight million 250ml bottles of sanitiser.

“Healthcare workers are at the forefront of fighting this pandemic and we are determined to do what we can to help protect them,” said Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes per ITV.

“This is the quickest and most effective way for us to meet the surging demand for hand sanitiser around the world,” Menezes added.

Washing your hands or using hand sanitiser has been one of the key strategies in fighting the spread of the coronavirus, but has been in short supply in the UK as customers have taken to panic buying the item ahead of the national lockdown ordered by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Diageo plans to donate 500,000 litres of GNS to the UK and Ireland and a further 100,000 litres to Italy, the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe.

“The spirit will be made available in supply chains according to local circumstances, working with the relevant authorities and hand sanitiser manufacturers. This will ensure the donation is used for maximum impact in protecting health workers and patients and that sanitiser reaches the frontline as quickly as possible,” the company said in a statement.

Alcohol distiller companies across the world have begun switching production to help with the growing demand for hand sanitizers.

Last week, the Scottish BrewDog pub chain and brewery company announced that it would start producing hand sanitiser at its distilleries. The company also said that it would be handing out its “punk sanitiser” the product for free to those in need.

“We are determined to do everything we can to try and help as many people as possible stay safe,” the company said.

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