Last month Scottish brewers BrewDog announced that they would join others in the industry in creating hand sanitiser for frontline NHS staff and charities.

Named BrewGel Punk sanitiser, the BrewDog team posted on their social media in March ahead of creating the new product saying: “Say hello to Punk Sanitiser Raising hands. 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 distilling team then went on to make the gel, which was to be given out free to those that need it most, including the Ellon-based brewery’s local hospital, the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

However, NHS Grampian has since had to turn away the donation, as the new sanitiser doesn’t meet their very strict criteria for a medical environment, which requires an alcohol level of more than 90%.

The Punk sanitiser is only 68% which does meet the minimum recommended by the Health and Safety Executive in the UK but doesn’t reach the level required from NHS Grampian.

The gel was also given to he Archie Foundation and Aberlour children’s charities.

NHS Grampian Co-operation

James Watt, co-founder of BrewDog explained that they will now be working with NHS staff to ensure future batches meet the requirements they need, he said: “We started making hand sanitiser at our distillery in Ellon, Aberdeenshire in response to the national shortage and are doing everything we can to help.

“The production of sanitiser is completely new for us, we are working closely with the NHS to understand how we can best meet their requirements for clinical care. In the meantime, we will continue to supply frontline workers and charities. Our first batch was 68% alcohol.

“The UK HSE requirements are 60% plus. For hospital use it needs to be 80%. We are working super closely with our friends at the NHS to meet their specifications for batch 2 at our own cost.”

Lesley Meldrum from NHS Grampian added that at no point did they reject the offer, more simply they decided to work together with the brewer to improve the recipe, she said: “We are very grateful for the offer from many local businesses, including BrewDog, to support the NHS at this time.

“Our supplies and equipment have to reach clinical standards before they can be put into use in health care settings and we have worked closely with the team at BrewDog to overcome some of these technical issues.

“This has been a really successful collaboration with the BrewDog Team and we look forward to getting the gel fully operational in health and care settings right across Grampian. ​ We at no time ‘rejected’ the offer, we instead chose to work together on finding a solution.”

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About The Author

Rosalind Erskine

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related.

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