Coronavirus: Haggerston distillery 58 Gin Ltd steps in to make hand sanitiser for Met police officers

Hand sanitiser being made at Portobello Road Gin for the Met

Hand sanitiser being made at Portobello Road Gin for the Met - Credit: met

A Haggerston gin distillery has branched out into producing hand sanitiser - and is now an official supplier for the Met to ensure its stocks don’t dry up during the coronavirus pandemic.

The outbreak of Covid-19 in the UK has led to a run on hygiene products like hand sanitiser as consumers panicked and bought them up in bulk, and even London’s police force is feeling the squeeze.

Hand sanitiser is crucial for officers on the frontline who deal with prisoners in custody and attend crime scenes, and staff at the Met’s commercial services team have reached out to the alcohol industry as an alternative source.

Haggerston’s 58 Gin Ltd, whose HQ is in Acton Mews, is one of three distilleries and breweries in the capital which have already signed a contract to supply the Met.

The firm first experimented making hand sanitiser at a charity event last month for The Drinks Trust, which provides care and support to the UK’s drinks industry workforce.

The first batch consisted of 96 per cent ethanol, which is pure alcohol, and aloe vera.

“With a health pandemic on the rise, and stocks of hand sanitiser at an all time low, the 58 Gin team rallied together and came up with Hand ‘Gin’itizer in only a matter of days,” said a spokesperson.

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The company, which usually runs gin-making workshops, has experienced “a severe downturn in business” because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The new product, which is now made from ethanol, glycerol, hydrogen peroxide and essential oils, has allowed it to sustain the small business and retain staff.

A share of its profits will be donated to The Drinks Trust because the industry is “on its knees” right now.

Notting Hill’s Portobello Road Gin and Chatham’s Copper Rivet Distillery have also come on board and the Met is speaking with other forces and public bodies.

The MPS expects to receive its first delivery of the hand sanitisers at the start of April.

Director of the Met’s commercial services Mark Roberts said: “Hand sanitiser is an essential item for our officers and staff, especially those on the frontline.

“So I am extremely grateful to all of the suppliers who have agreed to work with us and provide us with this vital commodity, which will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ultimately save lives.

“It shows the importance and necessity of everyone working together in these challenging times.”

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