Diageo Pledges 2 Million Litres of Grain Neutral Spirits (GNS) to Make Hand Sanitizer for Healthcare Workers

 In Blog

Distillers are a creative bunch. They are really good at making high proof alcohol the main ingredient used to make hand sanitizer. While many distillers retool to make a finished hand sanitizer that can be shipped directly to first responders, Diageo has decided to send GNS to existing hand sanitizer makers. There is not right or wrong in any of these efforts to provide hand sanitizer world-wide there are just different ways.

Bulleit Distilling Co - 3464 Benson Pike, Shelbyville, Kentucky 40065In the case of Diageo owner of brands like Bulleit Bourbon, Don Julio Tequila, Captain Morgan Rum, Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey, Smirnoff Vodka and Johnnie Walker Scotch they have decided to focus on what they do best making high proof spirits. In this case they will be making Grain Neutral Spirit or GNS, a 96% strength ethyl alcohol used primarily in production of vodka and gin – and make it available at no cost to hand sanitizer producers in multiple countries, to help overcome shortages in healthcare systems. This donation will enable the production of more than eight million 250ml bottles of hand sanitizer.

Diageo continues to engage with national and local governments across the many countries where the company has major distilling operations. The spirit will be made available in supply chains according to local circumstances, working with the relevant authorities and hand sanitizer manufacturers. This will ensure the donation is used for maximum impact in protecting health workers and patients and that sanitizer reaches the frontline as quickly as possible.

The plan includes:

  • The UK and the Republic of Ireland: 500,000 litres of GNS to be made available for national healthcare systems and workers across the UK and Ireland.
  • Italy: 100,000 litres of GNS to support the healthcare system and other national needs
  • USA: 500,000 litres of GNS to be supplied to meet local community needs
  • Brazil: Diageo’s Ypioca plant will produce 50,000 litres of spirit for the local healthcare system, in conjunction with the Ceara State Government.
  • Kenya: Diageo’s East Africa Breweries Ltd will enable production of 135,000 litres of sanitizer, prioritizing vulnerable and at risk groups.
  • India: 500,000 litres of alcohol to supply to the sanitizer industry across 25 States, for use in national healthcare systems and for consumers.
  • Australia: Diageo’s Bundaberg Distilling Co. to produce 100,000 litres of ethanol for the Queensland Government, to be forwarded to hand sanitizer manufacturers.

“Healthcare workers are at the forefront of fighting this pandemic and we are determined to do what we can to help protect them,” said Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive of Diageo. “This is the quickest and most effective way for us to meet the surging demand for hand sanitizer around the world.”

Full list of distilleries offering free hand sanitizer is here.

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