UK – Diageo has pledged to enable the creation of more than 8 million bottles of hand sanitizer to help protect frontline healthcare workers in the fight against the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

To achieve this, the world’s leading distiller revealed that it will be donating up to two million litres of alcohol to manufacturing partners in the UK, Ireland, Italy, USA, Brazil, Kenya, India and Australia.

Diageo said that it will provide Grain Neutral Spirit (GNS) – a 96% strength ethyl alcohol used primarily in production of vodka and gin – and make it available at no cost to hand sanitizer producers in the countries.

The donation is expected to enable the production of more than eight million 250ml bottles of hand sanitizer to help overcome shortages in healthcare systems.

The company says that it is engaging with national and local governments across various countries where the company has major distilling operations.

The plan includes supplying 500,000 litres of GNS in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, 100,000 litres of GNS in Italy, 500,000 litres in USA, 50,000 litres of spirit in Brazil and support the production of 135,000 litres of sanitizer in Kenya.

The company is also supply 500,000 litres of alcohol to the sanitizer industry across 25 States in India and further produce 100,000 litres of ethanol for the Queensland Government in Australia.

Diageo said that the spirit will be made available in supply chains according to local circumstances.

Shift in production to contain spread of the virus

At the same time, various alcoholic beverage producers have also announced a change in production at some of their sites to help in the supply ethanol required to produce the much needed hand sanitizers that are in high demand as a result of COVID-19.

Bacardi, on of the largest privately held spirits company in the world, has announced that  the Bacardi Corporation distillery in Cataño, Puerto Rico, has partnered with Puerto Rico based manufacturer, Olein Refinery to provide raw materials that will enable the production of more than 1.7 million units of 10-ounce hand sanitizer.

At 70% alcohol, these products are in line with the recommendations by the World Health Organization for containing the spread of the virus. Over half a million of the 10-ounce hand sanitizer units produced in partnership with Bacardi will be donated to local communities.

AB InBev has also announced that it will be producing hand sanitizer and disinfectants, bottling of emergency relief water and other actions to support the global efforts.

In France, Ricard SAS, part of Pernod Ricard has partnered with Laboratoire Cooper, supplier to all pharmacies in France, in donating pure alcohol for the production of hand sanitizer.

Ricard SAS is donating 70,000 litres of pure alcohol to Laboratoire Cooper to allow Cooper increase alcohol deliveries to pharmacies to produce hydroalcoholic gel, the equivalent of approximately 1.8 million individual 50 ml vials.

In Sweden, the distillery of Absolut Vodka is offering spirits at large scale to produce hand sanitizer for public health care while in the United States, Pernod Ricard’s Ft. Smith, Arkansas manufacturing plant and several other distilleries are producing hand sanitizers.

In Spain and Ireland, Pernod Ricard Spain and Irish Distillers have announced they will put their technical, human and production facilities at the service of the authorities to produce hand sanitizer.

These alcoholic beverage manufactures join the list of food and beverage companies that have provided the much needed support in combating the spread and mitigating the impact of the Coronavirus.