Distilleries shift to hygiene trade

Cameron MacKenzie with Four Pillars'' new hand sanitiser. 207207 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Romy Stephens

Local distilleries are keeping business going and the community hygienic by contributing to the production of hand sanitiser.

Amid the Covid-19 crisis, Healesville’s Four Pillars Gin and Seville’s Morgans Winery and Distillery have altered their focus by using additional spirits to produce sanitiser.

It comes as both have suffered from the impacts of Covid-19 and the country faces a shortage of hand sanitiser due to the virus.

Four Pillars has created two different hand sanitisers from the by-products of their gin distilling efforts – both in line with the World Health Organisation’s formula.

They initially created a sanitiser for healthcare workers, nurses and pharmacies before then creating a more aromatic product for household use.

Co-founder and distiller at Four Pillars Cameron MacKenzie said the idea has allowed them “to pivot the business” and keep staff in jobs.

“We’ve got about a three week backlog now of hand sanitiser to pack,” he said.

“We’ve got a bit of excess packaging that we’ve been able to repurpose.

“Also, all of our casual staff faced a bit of an unsure future. I would say we have about 4-5 weeks worth of work for them on full-time hours.

“At the moment there is a significant national shortage and I think we’re filling a tiny bit of that hole and at the same time keeping the lights on here.”

Morgans Winery and Distillery has also jumped on board the hand sanitiser production train after their local chemist approached them for help.

They initially sent additional alcohol to help with production, but are now making their own bottles.

Owner Simon Gunther said they have been forced to be creative during these tough times.

“Our business had basically ground to a halt in terms of sales,” he said.

“It’s a good alternative and allows us to keep paying the bills… When one door closes another door opens.”

Mr Gunther added that with the winery also going through vintage, they have thought of another creative idea to keep business going.

“Rather than throwing out our grape pressings from our Rosé making as compost, we are adding back water and fermenting them to create spirit, as sugar is getting harder to get,” Mr Gunther said.

Four Pillars’ Heads, Tails and Clean Hands is available from 1 April online and through the pop-up distillery shop in Healesville for $40 per litre. Individual purchases will be limited to five 1L bottles per order.

Morgans Winery and Distillery is selling 100ml spray bottles for $15 each with a limit of six per customer.

Larger quantities can be arranged for businesses or organisations.

Morgans Hand Sanitiser will be available at the cellar door from 11am-5pm Saturday and Sunday. It is expected to be made available for online purchase soon.


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