Gin maker turns to producing hand sanitiser during pandemic
IT'S not what he thought he'd be making when he set up a distillery in the old Warrego Winery but Jason Hannay knows these are unusual times for everyone.
Business around the world are adapting to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Hannay is in the middle of his first batch of hand sanitiser with an "overwhelming response" from businesses and individuals for pre-orders.
There is a shortage for the product, with places like funeral homes unable to get their hands on it.
He launched his first gin under Imbibis Craft Distillery earlier this year but COVID-19 has forced him to produce something different.
His first batch of gin sold out and is on sale at bottle shops and venues locally and in Brisbane.
"We've got some leftover spirit that we're using to now turn into hand sanitiser," he said.
"We're going into partnership with Ballistic Brewery at Springfield. They'll be providing me with the wash, or wine as you would call it in layman's terms, then I'll distil out that and turn that into hand sanitiser.
"We thought the need was there at the moment. Gin is currently not selling so I had to basically keep the business alive."
The Australian Tax Office gave him an amendment to his licence to create the new product but he hoped to return to making gin as soon as the pandemic was over.
Mr Hannay said the processes were similar.
"We've got about 140L in the first batch," he said.
"It's been a quick turnaround. We're creating it to the World Health Organisation's recommended formula.
"I've had overwhelming response."
Ballistic Brewery general manager Wade Curtis has been making the wash in 1000L batches before shipping it to Mr Hannay to be distilled.
"We make the first bit, which is the fermentation of the sugar liquid," Mr Curtis said.
"It takes a couple of days for the fermentation process and then we package it into a big 1000L cube and transport it."
Mr Curtis said the project allowed him to help meet the needs of the community, as well as keep his staff on the books.
"I have been friends with Jason for a long time, and when I saw he was starting to make hand sanitiser, we jumped at the chance to help," he said.
"It's just a little something extra we can do for the community to help out, as it is something that is really needed.
"The beer market, and the keg market has dropped off for us, so this is just another way we can try and keep some money coming in during the short term."