Diageo and Bacardi help with supply of alcohol for hand sanitiser

Diageo has pledged more than eight million bottles of sanitiser for frontline care workers while Bacardi has announced it is also helping to supply ethanol required to produce the “high in demand” sanitisers as a result of Covid-19. 

Other big – and small – spirits producers have announced similar moves. Last week Pernod Ricard said it is “mobilising affiliates globally” to deal with the shortage of hand sanitisers, with its businesses such as the distillery of Absolut Vodka in Sweden offering spirits on a large scale, to be redirected to public health care. 

Diageo said it is making enough to enable the creation of more than eight million 25cl bottles, by donating up to two million litres of alcohol to manufacturing partners. 

The global distiller will provide Grain Neutral Spirit (GNS) – a 96% strength ethyl alcohol used primarily in production of vodka and gin – to make it available at no cost to hand sanitiser producers in multiple countries. 

Within this, it said 500,000 litres of GNS will be made available for national healthcare systems and workers across the UK and Ireland. It also has plans for Italy, USA, Brazil, Kenya, India and Australia, via its distilleries and partners in those areas. 

Diageo chief executive, Ivan Menezes, said: “Healthcare workers are at the forefront of fighting this pandemic and we are determined to do what we can to help protect them. This is the quickest and most effective way for us to meet the surging demand for hand sanitiser around the world.”

And Bacardi said its premium rum distillery in Catano, Puerto Rico – where 80% of the company’s rums are produced – has partnered with Puerto Rico based manufacturer Olein Refinery to provide raw materials to enable the production of more than 1.4 million units of 10-ounce sanitiser. These can be distributed to free to USPA workers, firefighters and police, along with Bacardi employees and contractors. 

Jose Class, vice president, supply chain and manufacturing, said: “This is a family-owned business and we know what it means to take care of a community in need. In the 158 years of Bacardi, we have endured our share of challenging times and have learned that resilience, optimism and community are what will help us come out stronger.”