finance

Huge response to hand sanitiser match-up portal



An online portal set up by the Scotch Whisky Association to connect distillers with organisations that need hand sanitiser or ethanol has received more than 130 offers and applications for help in just three weeks.

Distillers, companies supplying other key ingredients and those which can help with packaging or distribution are among those who have contacted the SWA through the website, which was launched on launched on 25 March.

Dozens of community care providers, prisons, NHS trusts and funeral homes, have registered to say how much they need and demand has been high across Scotland and the UK.

Distillers across Scotland have pledged more than 13.5 million litres of ethanol to support the production of more than 54 million bottles of hand sanitiser. Hand sanitiser is also being produced locally to meet demand in local communities, coming from care homes, the police, local councils and food manufacturing.

Karen Betts, chief executive of the SWA, said: “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.

“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.

“The SWA portal has proved an invaluable tool in connecting those who need sanitiser and ethanol with those who can provide it, and we now have over 130 organisations up and down the UK registered on the portal as well as some overseas companies offering help.”

The SWA has provided manufacturing guidance and worked with HMRC to allow distillers to make sanitiser without needing to pay duty on the alcohol in it, if it is made to WHO specifications.

Liam Hughes, CEO and co-founder of Glasgow Distillery Company, said: “Since registering with the SWA Portal we’ve been contacted by organisations requesting hand sanitiser across the central belt and further afield.

“Having initially scaled up production to accommodate demand, we are now working on another batch, and the portal has helped us to ensure that hand sanitiser is reaching those who need it. From homeless charities and food banks, through to the Royal Mail and frontline care providers, demand has been very high, and we have seen a real mix of requests coming through.”

Gordon Buist, production director for Chivas Brothers, said: “We were pleased at the strong interest generated by the portal; there has been no shortage of takers for our hand sanitiser or ethanol, which shows the importance of this industry initiative.

“Thanks to the Portal we have been able to connect with a number of charities and organisations, and supply sanitiser to support the vital work they are doing for the community.”



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