The team at Hensol Castle Distillery, based in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales, has taken up the challenge to support key front-line workers by converting its newly opened production lines into making much-needed hand sanitiser.
The distillery, based in the cellars of a 400-year old castle, which once was used as a backdrop for BBC dramas including Sherlock, Doctor Who and Torchwood, typically distils its trademark Benjamin Hall and Crawshay gins. But it has diverted its operations to produce hand sanitiser to help meet the national shortage that has occurred as a result of coronavirus.
Andy Mallows, managing director of Hensol Castle Distillery, said: “As the coronavirus pandemic unfolded, it quickly became clear that there was an urgent and national need for hand sanitiser. We realised that, with our production facilities and the manufacturing knowledge of our skilled team, we could help to provide valuable additional supplies at this critical time.
“From a standing start, we have received World Health Organisation accreditation for our Hensol Castle Hand Rub. Production is now underway and we will build our capacity in the next week to producing more than 1.2 million litres a month, by operating two shifts, seven days a week to fully utilise our facilities.
“One of the most difficult challenges has been finding containers for the product, and we have been gazumped on more than one occasion. But we have now sourced a variety of sizes from individual 100ml holders to one and 2.5 litre dispensers and even 1,000 litre sizes for industrial use.”
The team has already received orders to supply many of the front-line services including St John’s Ambulance, the Metropolitan Police, Welsh Water as well a number of local councils.
Hensol Castle Distillery Chairman, Stephen Leeke, said: “We were due to start our gin distillery tours and gin making experiences at Easter but the current crisis put that on hold. The team are now throwing all their efforts into hand sanitiser production instead to provide valuable protection to those at the front-line during this difficult time.
“I’d like to pay tribute to our staff across the resort who have been extremely understanding and flexible in these challenging circumstances. For example, we currently have a number of our events team working double shifts in the distillery, as we get the product made and into market with a completely new supply chain. They’ve been fantastic and all deserve a huge amount of credit.”
This is not the only way in which the Leeke family is helping in the fight against coronavirus. The Wales rugby team’s training headquarters at the Vale Resort is being turned into a 290-bed field hospital by Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board to increase capacity in the area.