Hand sanitiser is right up there on the most-wanted list for many – so much so that shops have put purchase limits in place. So, if you’re still supermarket-hopping in search of that elusive ethanol, these South Australian producers have converted their production lines to address the shortage.
And while handwashing with soap and warm water is considered the best practice for hygiene, hand sanitiser (with at least 60-per-cent alcohol) is a solid alternative when you can’t get to running water.
Here’s where you can get it online.
Kangaroo Island Spirits
Kangaroo Island Spirits founder Jon Lark was just about to dispose of 2000 litres of gin heads, a high-alcohol by-product of gin-making, when the pandemic-inspired buying blitz on sanitiser began. Following a World Health Organisation (Who)-approved method, he began turning it into sanitiser and distributing it to those most in need. “We gave some to a local school for nothing, some to the police and the vet clinic,” he tells Broadsheet. “We had calls from all over the country – people begging us for some.”
Lark sent another 20 litres to the Adelaide chapter of Ronald McDonald House, and has a batch waiting to be shipped to a cancer clinic operated by Benson Radiology. He didn’t get into making sanitiser as a cash-grab. “We’re in it to keep people’s jobs going – keeping our staff and our families with an income,” he says. “We’re not trying to get on the radar about it. We’re just doing what we’re doing.”
With the majority going straight to health organisations, only a small amount of sanitiser is available to the public. Pick some up from the Kangaroo Island Spirits stall at the Adelaide Farmers’ Market. 500ml bottles are $14.
Never Never Distilling Co
Never Never Distilling Co has rolled out two hand sanitiser products; one for personal use, and one for medical use. “We were getting asked a hundred times a week if we were planning on making [sanitiser],” says managing director George Georgiadis. “It wasn’t until doctors started messaging that we realised the problem was a serious one that deserved attention.”
Never Never’s 80-per-cent alcohol sanitiser, made to the strict specifications outlined by Who, is designed for use by medical practitioners in aged care facilities and hospitals. The high-alcohol percentage means it can’t be shipped, and has to be hand-delivered, in reusable 15-litre drums. For those at home, a lower-grade (68-per-cent alcohol) 500-millilitre product is available for $22, and can be purchased through Never Never’s website.
Threefold Distillery, which launched at Stepney cellar door Ferg’s in January, is selling hand sanitiser (or it’s free with a gin purchase) while stocks last. “We had a lot of friends, family and customers request sanitiser due to the lack of availability,” distiller Steven Roennfeldt tells Broadsheet.
With plenty of ethanol on hand, the logistics of shifting production from gin to sanitiser was reasonably easy, though they are limited to small-batch production. “Our still is only 200 litres, which restricted the volume we could do,” Roennfeldt says. “The small bottles were surprisingly hard to come by as distillers around the country bought [them all] up.”
Threefold add extra botanicals to their distillation run, imbuing their product with a gin-like aroma. At 68-per-cent alcohol, and packaged in pocket-friendly spray bottles, it’s recommended for domestic use. You can purchase Threefold sanitiser, with or without gin accompaniment, online.
Sidewood Estate owners Owen and Cassandra Inglis have experienced pandemic life before. They were living in China during the 2002 Sars outbreak, and believe hand sanitiser will become an essential part of Australian life, even after the virus has been contained. The pair has now added a hand sanitiser to their range, to stay in business and provide work for staff.
“We had to close our restaurant, close our bottling plant, stand down a lot of our casual staff and furlough a number of our permanent staff,” says owner Owen Inglis. “We are a family business and we value our staff tremendously, so it has been an incredibly difficult time.”
Producing hand sanitiser has meant the couple could reopen their bottling line, normally used for wines and ciders, and bring back their permanent staff. “We’re thrilled to [be able to] keep as many of our staff employed as we have, at the same time knowing that we are doing something so vital to help keep the community safe,” says Owen.
Sidewood’s 80-per-cent alcohol hand sanitiser, which comes in a glass-bottle atomiser, is vegan and made from Australian ingredients. It’s available to purchase at Sidewood’s temporary takeaway shop in Hahndorf, or online in a pack of Sidewood wines.