Shepherd Neame began brewing ‘clean beer’ for the initiative last Tuesday (March 24). This is at least 10% ABV and no hops will be used to ensure it is aroma and flavour-free.
The brew is being road tankered to the Copper Rivet Distillery, where it will be used as a feed stock for their distilling alcohol to create the sanitiser.
The initiative has been launched in response to widespread shortages of hand sanitiser, which has been flagged as an important tool in combating the Coronavirus.
Copper Rivet co-founder Stephen Russell said: “Our business sells Dockyard Gin and Vela Vodka to pubs, bars and restaurants, which are now all closed. In these difficult times, we wanted to use our equipment and resources to support our emergency services, while also protecting distillery jobs, so we decided to look into diverting our production to alcohol hand sanitiser. Our Head Distiller Abhi Banik has worked hard to create a formula that achieves the efficacy of the alcohol while also being kind to the hands.”
Co-founder Matthew Russell added: “We are one of only a handful of English distilleries to make our own neutral alcohol, but such is the likely demand for the sanitiser, that we approached Shepherd Neame to supply specially brewed, high strength beer in bulk to boost our supplies for the distillation process. We already have a strong relationship with the brewery as they list our products, and we wanted to work with a partner we can rely on.”
It is hoped that the first consignment of Copper Rivet’s hand sanitiser will be available by Friday (April 3). This will be initially for the emergency services and public authorities only, including a large quantity for the Met Police.
Shepherd Neame Chief Executive Jonathan Neame said: “Following the Government decision to close all pubs, our current operational focus is to continue production at the brewery to maintain sales to supermarkets. When Copper Rivet approached us about this project, we were delighted to get involved, and have now adapted our output to ensure a steady supply of alcohol for hand sanitiser. We are delighted to be able to support such a fantastic initiative to support the national effort.”