Coronavirus: Brewdog plans to make “Punk” hand sanitiser gel met with mixed reaction

“We are determined to do everything we can to try and help as many people as possible stay safe. It’s time to keep it clean”

Matt Mathers
Wednesday 18 March 2020 16:52 GMT
Johnson: Britons 'understand what they need to do to beat' coronavirus

Brewery and pubchain Brewdog has announced that it is using its Scottish distillery to produce hand sanitiser in a bid to alleviate waning stocks amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Brewdog - which has sites across the country - said it was working with a global team to make its "Punk" sanitiser available as soon as possible to help people "stay safe".

A spokesperson said: “To help with the shortages, we have just started working on making hand sanitiser at our distillery in Scotland.

"We are determined to do everything we can to try and help as many people as possible stay safe. It’s time to keep it clean.”

The announcement was met with mixed reaction online, with some accusing the chain of "shameless marketing". Others urged the company to remove all its branding and give the product away for free.

Following the criticism, Brewdog boss James Watt clarified that the company had no plans to sell the product.

He wrote: "Just to be clear, we will not be selling the sanitiser. But giving it away to those who need it."

It came after a small distillery based in Leith, near Edinburgh, called on the community for help with producing sanitiser for locals.

Leith Gin suspended all spirit production earlier this week and is now making high strength hand sanitiser for those who can't buy it from the shops.

With limited glassware, Leith Gin co-founders Derek Mair have asked for help in sourcing bottles to put the product in, preferably with pump action tops in orderr to help the liquid go further.

The couple said they had set aside 1,000 litres of high-strength alcohol to make the sanitiser.

“It started when we made some up last week for staff covering a gin event in Glasgow, and then some for family and friends,” said Ms Mair.

“But as the situation seems to be escalating so rapidly, it just seems the right thing to do.

"Our community supports us, so it’s good to do something for them.”

Officials have begun cutting red tape to increase production of alcohol-based hand sanitiser as supermarket shelves empty across the country.

HM Revenue and Customs, which approves all applications to use denatured alcohol, is fast-tracking the process so that manufacturers wanting to produce hand-sanitising products can be quickly authorised.

A HMRC spokesman said: "By enabling the fast-tracking of authorisations to use denatured alcohol, we are providing manufacturers with the potential to produce the extra hand sanitiser gel needed during the coronavirus outbreak.

"We hope that this will provide manufacturers with the support they need to meet the sudden increase in demand for their products.

"HMRC will continue to work with the industry to ensure we are taking all possible steps to support production.

"Existing standards and criteria will continue to be applied to licence applications."

The Independent has contacted Brewdog for additional comment.

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