Beenleigh Rum Distillery and Bundaberg Rum Distillery produce hand sanitiser to help with coronavirus crisis

ICONS UNITE: Manufacturing Minister Cameron Dick said two iconic producers were involved with making hand sanitiser to ease the crisis.
ICONS UNITE: Manufacturing Minister Cameron Dick said two iconic producers were involved with making hand sanitiser to ease the crisis.

A BEENLEIGH distillery is turning its attention from rum to hand sanitiser as demand skyrockets in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Beenleigh and Bundaberg rum distilleries are focusing on ethanol production to make hand sanitiser in the fight against the virus.

Beenleigh Distillery owner Angelo Kotses said the idea to transition to hand sanitiser came from the need to keep their own workers safe.

"Ethanol is the key ingredient of hand sanitiser, and we already produce ethanol for our alcohol products," Mr Kotses said.

"We originally planned a small run of only 1500 cartons, but when the Queensland government approached us we were more than happy to help by providing hand sanitiser for essential needs throughout the state."

Manufacturing Minister Cameron Dick said his department had reached out to Queensland manufacturers, and had been impressed by the response, particularly from the two distilleries.

"Beenleigh Rum - Australia's oldest distillery - will commence the production of hand sanitiser this week and have arrangements to supply the state government to ensure we have a ready supply for schools and front-line workers," he said.

"Bundaberg Rum is also going full steam ahead with the production of ethanol, and will donate 100,000 litres - enough to produce around 500,000 bottles - to the government.

"The Department of State Development is working to identify more manufacturers around the state who can quickly transition to the production of hand sanitiser.

"I can't thank these mighty Queensland manufacturers enough."

Mr Dick said the government wanted to hear from more manufacturers to help ease the crisis.

"We want to see more of this and are ready and eager to work with and support manufacturers who can help us get more products into our hospitals, our schools and our supermarkets and stores," he said.

"This is the time to think laterally and broadly about how you and your business can adapt and contribute to our state's COVID-19 coronavirus response.

"You might think it's a long shot but innovation is critical right now, and when it comes to manufacturing there's no state more innovative than Queensland."

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