Business & Industry Liquor producer put its alcohol to spirited use – as sanitiser for...

Liquor producer put its alcohol to spirited use – as sanitiser for vulnerable communities

An artwork by Jeremy Day at Distell's Oude Libertas Centre. With SA in lockdown, many venues are closed

As SA endures the coronavirus lockdown, one company is doing what it considers its national duty in a very spirited way.

Distell, far better known for its fine wines and spirits, has announced it will produce hand sanitisers and other hygiene products at its production facilities to help curb the spread of the killer virus. 

“We are determined to support our government in its bid to halt the current rapid spread of Covid-19 and in the absence of a vaccine, good hygiene remains one of the most effective options to do so.”

Distell Group CEO Richard Rushton

The company is setting aside 100,000 litres of alcohol to be used to make sanitisers and a variety of other sanitising products.

The sanitisers will be distributed free to vulnerable communities across South Africa as a way to encourage good hygiene practices. 

Distell’s new hand sanitiser (Image: Engineering News)

The company, Africa’s leading producer and marketer of spirits, fine wines, ciders and ready-to-drink products (RTDs), will work closely with the government to identify these communities and assist in the roll-out of the products.

Distell recognised the critical shortage of pure alcohol to produce hand and surface sanitisers, which are in desperately short supply in many homes and hospitals as Covid-19 tightens its frightening grip.

“We fully understand that our position as a leading player in the alcoholic beverages industry comes with a societal obligation. We want communities to benefit from our presence and we are determined to rise to the challenge.”

Richard Rushton

The company has also supported the national lockdown by cancelling all its events, closing all experiential and product tasting facilities, and ensuring many employees can work from home.

It educated staff on good hygiene practices in the context of the pandemic and made sanitisers available to all staff at its sites across the world.

“This pandemic is perhaps the greatest challenge our country has faced since democracy, and calls on business, the private sector and communities to work together to overcome the virus,” Rushton says.

“We hope everyone will heed the president’s call to remain united and adhere to the lockdown, for all our sakes, but especially to protect the most vulnerable.”

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