Coronavirus: Waikato brewery Good George using distillery to make hand sanitiser

A Waikato craft beer company is using its distillery to produce hand sanitiser in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The pandemic has seen a shortage of sanitiser across New Zealand, with demand for antibacterial products increasing around the world.

Hamilton-based Good George Brewing is hoping to produce 1000 litres of the liquid using a distillery it had recently been using to make selected spirits.

Co-founder Brian Watson told Rural Today's Dominic George they had the idea after having trouble sourcing it for staff and customers.

"We thought let's just make our own," said Watson.

"We saw a distillery in Scotland was looking at it and they referenced the World Health Organisation (WHO) website which is the standard recipe for especially viral and bacterial hand sanitisers, so we just downloaded it and started making it."

The company is now working on a way for people to order the sanitiser on line.
The company is now working on a way for people to order the sanitiser on line. Photo credit: Facebook/Good George

He said while it was a bit disappointing to be using whiskey which had been aging for at least a year to make sanitiser, it was the right thing to be doing.

"We had our whiskey and gin programe going for a while and we thought the world needs hand sanitiser more than it needs gin and whiskey right at the moment," said Watson.

"So we are doing everything we can to change things within the distillery part of our business and start smacking out some hand sanitiser." 

The company, which employs 250 people, had been affected by the impact of coronavirus, however had been continuing to produce it's beer products.

Meanwhle dairy giant Fonterra is to make 250,000 litres of high-grade ethanol available to New Zealand companies to help with the shortage.

It said it was working with the Government to prioritise where it would go.

"We're increasing capacity with a target of producing an extra 220,000 litres of ethanol," the company said in a statement.

"We're also working with Gull to test 250,000 litres of their fuel-grade ethanol to ensure it can be used for hand sanitiser."

Listen to the interview.