The COVID-19 pandemic has, unfortunately, resulted in global shortages of critical supplies to our front-line workers battling this virus. On hearing local hospitals and care homes dealing with the most vulnerable people had run out of hand sanitiser, I realised where we could make a difference in our little distillery! Although soap and water are just as effective, there are many professions that may not have ready access to hand washing facilities.

We discovered after a little research that we have the supplies and equipment to make hand sanitiser as per World Health Organisation specifications. We set a plan in motion and immediately started the trawl the net for suitable bottles and the supplies we needed. This of course proved tricky due to various businesses already beginning to scale back and shut down.

We had always planned to hand out this sanitiser, free of charge, to those in our community most in need, NHS, Care Homes, Police and vulnerable members of our community who are confined to their house. We managed to source supplies for an initial batch of 200 x 50ml bottles, word soon got out and these were all reserved before they were even bottled. It’s very sad to here people so in need and desperate for a little help.

As you all probably well know, raw NGS (alcohol at approx. 96% ABV) is relatively inexpensive but the alcohol duty on top of the price we pay is, quite frankly, eye watering. UK spirit duty currently stands at £28.74 per litre, so this is where the vast majority of the purchase price of your delicious bottle of King’s Hill Gin goes, I am afraid, much to our dismay! Our WHO formula hand sanitiser is approximately 80% Ethanol therefore quite expensive to make from an alcohol duty perspective. The good news is during the process of creating our first batch my fellow gin distillers and I, assisted by the British Distillers Alliance, lobbied HMRC to waive this duty as we were handing it out to those most at need during a Pandemic, they eventually agreed! This means we can hand out much more for free whilst keeping our little business afloat.

We have now switched fully from Gin production to hand sanitiser production and as I type have just finished filling bottle number 750…with another 500 bottles on the way. These so far have been donated to hospitals / doctors’ surgeries, care homes, police stations and the schools that remain open and even delivered out by hand to those in the community who are confined to their houses, free of charge. We feel great for being able to play our part and are equally delighted to see so many of our distiller cousins doing the same, solidarity at its best!

We will get through this together, stay safe!

All at King’s Hill HQ x