Qld rum distilleries to produce hand sanitiser

Australia’s oldest distillery Beenleigh Rum and Bundaberg Rum will begin producing hand sanitisers for schools and frontline workers.

About 100,000 litres of ethanol, the key ingredient in hand sanitiser, enough to fill 500,000 bottles, will be supplied to the Queensland government.

State development, manufacturing, infrastructure and planning minister Cameron Dick said the government was prepared to work with and support more manufacturers.

“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,” he 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.

“We are talking to manufacturers from right across Queensland who are willing and able to transition their production into essential health care supplies and other necessities.”

Existing production lines and staff at both plants are focused on the immediate production for supply hospitals, schools, stores and supermarkets.

Managing director of Bickfords Group and owner of Beenleigh Distillery Angelo Kotses said the idea of producing hand sanitisers came from the need to keep their workers safe.

“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,” he said.

Managing director of Bundaberg Rum’s parent company Diageo Australia said the company had a duty to support the needs of the community.

“At a time like this we will always step up and contribute when Australians need it most,” he said.

The government will continue to identify issues in supply chains with manufacturers, suppliers and producers and investigate ways to keep businesses open.