Scots distillery creates sanitiser gel to help charities and front line services after being shocked to discover they are running low

A Scottish distiller who is using their gin stocks to make hand sanitiser is calling on people to help their local charities and frontline services after being shocked by the lack of availability of the vital product.

Published 15th Mar 2020
Updated 18 th Sep 2023

Mike Bain of Deeside Distillery in Banchory explained that his team had discovered that a lot of local schools, nurseries and care homes do not have access to a supply of hand sanitisers or cleaning gels, and decided to try and help in any way they could.

Mike, who founded the distillery in 2017, said that they decided to use their gin to create batches of hand sanitiser to help local charities, such as foodbanks, and front line services including care firms and GPs - who were struggling to source any of the hand cleaning products due to the current panic buying and profiteering going on around the country over coronavirus.

"We made the world's strongest gin at 87% abv to be a solid base for hand sanitiser. Worryingly, it took us nearly a week just to source the ingredients we needed for creating it.

"We managed to get 4,000 50ml dispenser bottles for the sanitiser - the last lot from the company which has demand from all over the world - and 200 litres of aloe vera from a company that supplies the equine industry.

"We then set out to make it for the people that need it most, we don't want to make any money from this, we are only charging private companies to cover the cost and duty. We've literally had to ask people to come to the distillery and we are mixing and hand blending the new recipe to order - filling old milk cartons and plastic bottles for them."

Mike explained that though they have been donating where they can, to their local foodbanks schools and some charities.

Two-thirds of the cost of some of the sanitiser is tax due to the fact the government still expect them to pay duty - something that he hopes HMRC will be able to do something about.

Mike's now calling on other businesses to do what they can to help after speaking to fellow gin maker Martin Murray at Rock Rose and learning that the same lack of sanitiser availability was happening in the Thurso area.

"All week I have been speaking to people and it's been eye-opening and sad. The people that will be on the front line - doctors, nurses, carers, pharmacy workers and local care homes, caring for our most vulnerable all unable to secure hand sanitiser.

"I would urge any companies or organisations that may shut offices to donate hand sanitisers to your local care homes or charities that look after the most vulnerable.

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"If we all do a little we can make a big difference."



Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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