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Oro, Shetland and Loch Lomond distilleries join sanitiser production drive with donations to NHS and care services

Three more Scottish distilleries have joined the fight against covid-19 by turning to the production of hand sanitiser and donating to the NHS and front line services. 

Published: April 2, 2020
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Oro Distillery in Dumfriesshire, Saxa Vord Distillery on Shetland and Loch Lomond Distillery have all announced that they have moved from whisky and gin production to producing hand sanitiser using a World Health Organisation (WHO) approved recipe.

One of Scotland's largest distillers, The Loch Lomond Group, has teamed up with FareShare Scotland to ensure that their consignments of the vital product reach those who need it most.

The Loch Lomond Group are now producing hand sanitiser. Picture: LLG

Colin Matthews, CEO of Loch Lomond Group explained that it was very important to them that they found a meaningful way to help to support the people of Scotland, he said: "We operate one of the largest distilleries in Scotland, and quickly realised that we have both the ability and capacity to produce a significant amount of hand sanitiser which is currently in such high demand.

"By partnering with Fareshare Scotland we can ensure that this donation reaches those people in most need across the country."

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Mr Matthews stated that their production facilities in Alexandria, Dumbartonshire and Catrine, Ayrshire have both now converted to making the much-needed liquid adding that he'd like to thank MacPhie who have bottled the product and donated the 425ml plastic bottles, and DHL Scotland who have agreed to deliver the products without charge across the country.

Meanwhile, head distiller at Oro Distillery in Dalton, Dumfriesshire, Ray Clynick Jnr, who has a background as a chemical biologist, has been working round the clock with his team of chemists to produce bottles of hand sanitiser for those in need.

Ray and the Oro team have also now created sanitiser. Picture: Oro

Plans are now in place to supply pharmacy workers, the NHS, care workers, the Scottish Prison Service, Vets and the Royal Mail.

Mr Clyncik Jnr, explained that their will also be 50ml bottles available to buy for individuals in need for £1.50 which can be collected from the distillery or refilled for £1, he said: “Given the serious nature of the situation, we knew we needed both the resource and infrastructure in place to really help make a difference, not just in the short term but in the longer term.

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“We spent a decent amount of time making sure we had the right equipment in place and that the supply chain was right, whilst sourcing reagents, luckily most of which we did already have.

“Our team have been absolutely amazing and the whole operation really wouldn’t be possible without their hard work, helping others has been the real driver for them and to see that we are helping the local community as well as larger organisations further afield is definitely what’s keeping everyone going.

“We are fully committed to making sanitiser for as long as it’s needed, we are able to take more custom orders for bigger organisations as well as selling individual bottles which people can collect from the distillery or packs of eight can be bought online.”

Stuart Nickerson, director at Saxa Vord Distillery, explained that it was vitally important for them to do something to help the island which is one of the worst affected areas in the country, he said: "It is important to us that those workers who are in desperate need of the hand sanitiser are able to carry out their duties as safely as possible."

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Mr Nickerson stated that the Shetland Distillery Company had been approached by several organisations on the island in the hope that they might be able to produce and deliver the product to them.

He added that the hand sanitiser will be provided in 5-litre containers, with the first batch heading to NHS Shetland next week.

The news follows other distilleries across the country turning their attention to sanitiser production in a bid to help those front line services in need.

Oro, Saxa Vord and Loch Lomond now join the likes of Glasgow Distillery, Edinburgh Gin, Beinn An Tuirc Distillers, Deeside Distillery and Red Castle Gin in producing the much needed anti-bacterial product.

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The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has also recently launched a portal to help Scottish whisky distilleries who want to follow the lead of the craft gin sector in helping to produce sanitiser.

Scotch Whisky producers are being invited to submit details to the portal of what they can provide, be that either high-strength alcohol or hand sanitiser. The portal will help distillers to source necessary ingredients, whilst organisations in need of sanitiser will be able to specify their requirements.

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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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