Shepherd Neame announced that it is partnering with Copper Rivet Distillery to create hand sanitiser for emergency services and frontline workers.
The brewery and pub operator has begun brewing ‘clean beer’ for the initiative, which is around 10% ABV. No hops will be used to ensure it is aroma and flavour-free.
The brew will be road tankered to the Copper Rivet Distillery, in Chatham Maritime, where it will be used as a feedstock for distilling alcohol to create the sanitiser.
The initiative has been launched in response to widespread shortages of hand sanitiser as the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold.
The first batch of Copper Rivet’s hand sanitiser is estimated to be ready by tomorrow (3 April), and will initially be provided to emergency services and public authorities, including the Met Police.
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.”
Copper Rivet co-founder, Matthew Russel, said: “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.”
Jonathan Neame, Shepherd Neame chief executive, 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.”