Rum distilleries are fuelling sanitiser supply

Monday, 30 March, 2020

Rum distilleries are fuelling sanitiser supply

Beenleigh Rum Distillery and Bundaberg Rum Distillery are providing a supply of hand sanitiser for Queensland, focusing on the production of ethanol for hand sanitiser, using existing production lines and staff. Beenleigh Rum has made arrangements to supply the Queensland Government, to ensure a ready supply for schools and frontline workers. Bundaberg Rum will also produce ethanol, donating 100,000 litres — enough to produce approximately 500,000 bottles — to the Queensland Government.

“My department has reached out to Queensland manufacturers, and the response, particularly from two of the most-loved brands in our state, shows just how much local companies are willing to do to help Queenslanders,” Cameron Dick, Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, said. “The Department of State Development is working to identify more manufacturers around the state who can quickly transition to the production of hand sanitiser.”

The state government plans to reach out to manufacturers, suppliers and producers to identify any issues in the supply chain, and investigate ways to keep businesses open by retooling. “We want to see more of this and are ready and eager to work with and support manufacturers who can help us get more products into our hospitals, our schools and our supermarkets and stores,” Dick said. “This is the time to think laterally and broadly about how you and your business can adapt and contribute to our state’s COVID-19 coronavirus response.”

Angelo Kotses, Managing Director of the Bickfords Group and owner of the Beenleigh Distillery, said the idea to transition to hand sanitiser came from the need to keep their own workers safe. “Ethanol is the key ingredient of hand sanitiser, and we already produce ethanol for our alcohol products. We originally planned a small run of only 1500 cartons, but when the Queensland Government approached us we were more than happy to help by providing hand sanitiser for essential needs throughout the state,” Kotses said.

David Smith, Managing Director of Bundaberg Rum’s parent company, Diageo Australia, said the company had a duty to support the community in this unprecedented time of need through its donation of ethanol. “Bundaberg Rum is a Queensland icon; we’ve felt the love of Australians since our distillery was first established more than 130 years ago in 1888. At a time like this we will always step up and contribute when Australians need it most,” Smith said.

A webpage has also been established for manufacturers who can move into untraditional production areas. Through the website, manufacturers can complete a short online form, which enables the site to connect them to any new suppliers, producers and networks they may need. On the importance of businesses thinking laterally and broadly in the face of COVID-19, Dick said: “You might think it’s a long shot but innovation is critical right now, and when it comes to manufacturing there’s no state more innovative than Queensland.”

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