Sunday, May 31, 2020

Yorkshire gin maker switches production to hand sanitiser

A Yorkshire gin and whisky distillery backed by the University of Hull has swapped production to hand sanitiser to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Cooper King Distillery, founded by Chris Jaume and Abbie Neilson in 2016, received support in its early years from the SparkFund, a grants programme for SMEs delivered by the University of Hull.

The business, which now supplies retailers including Harvey Nichols and Ocado, was hit hard by the outbreak of Coronavirus, and lost around 85 per cent of its trade overnight.

Chris and Abbie took the bold decision to switch production from gin to hand sanitiser, to play their part in tackling the spread of COVID-19.

Products are sold to individuals and businesses, with profits being donated to the NHS and health organisations in the form of free sanitiser.

Mr Jaume said: “Business was booming, then COVID-19 hit. We woke up on Monday, March 16 to an 85 per cent overnight loss of trade. We spent the following 24 hours putting in place emergency finance plans.

“We then received a number of enquiries from the public and the front line as to whether we could produce hand sanitiser after seeing a news story of another distillery down south doing something similar.

“We quickly understood there was – and still is – a huge national shortage of sanitiser, and that we could step up to help out. Being a lean an agile company, we researched, developed and produced the first batch with a five-day turnaround.

“This was a big undertaking – we repurposed equipment, sourced materials – but we did it and donated our entire 1st batch the following day to our local community and front-line staff.”

Cooper King Distillery, based near York, has to date produced around 1,000 litres of sanitiser for the public, A&E departments, ICU units and mountain rescue organisations across the country.

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