Queensland rum and gin distilleries are converting their production lines to address the state’s shortage of hand sanitiser.

Beenleigh Rum Distillery, Bundaberg Rum Distillery and West End’s Brisbane Distillery will all use existing capacity to produce hand sanitiser. Beenleigh and Bundaberg made the decision after a call-out to Queensland manufacturers from Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick.

“My department has reached out to Queensland manufacturers, and the response, particularly from two of the most-loved brands in our state, shows just how much local companies are willing to do to help Queenslanders,” Dick said in a statement.

“Beenleigh Rum – Australia’s oldest distillery – will commence the production of hand sanitiser this week and have arrangements to supply the Queensland Government to ensure we have a ready supply for schools and frontline workers.

“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 Queensland 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,” Dick said.

Brisbane Distillery will dedicate its entire gin production capacity to the manufacture of hand sanitiser after discussions with Queensland's Covid-19 taskforce over the weekend.

“A lot of friends who are doctors have told me that they have run out of sanitising products – this prompted me to investigate how we could repurpose the products and equipment we have here at the distillery,” Brisbane Distillery owner and head distiller Jon Atherton said in a press release.

Healthcare workers will be able to purchase the sanitising product in 20-litre units at a discounted rate (upon presentation of a business card or professional registration), while the general public will be able to purchase five-litre, two-litre and 500 millilitre units.

All upcoming gin school sessions at Brisbane Distillery have been suspended, but vouchers are available for future classes.