The Milton Rum Distillery has come to the aid of local doctors, schools and businesses in the same spirit as other distillers by producing much needed hand sanitiser to protect against Coronavirus.

Milton Rum founder Alexander Bell is a young chemical engineer who, until recently, could be found at local Cuban bar The Malecón creating unique craft spirits for a fast growing fan base. The COVID-19 crisis prompted him to turn his hand to a product that will help an even wider section of the Brisbane community.

Bell first spoke with a local doctor about the extent of the sanitiser shortage just weeks ago. Within 72 hours he had designed a new distilling operation capable of producing 1680 litres of 90 per cent ethanol per week. “There are other distillers in Australia who’ve turned to sanitiser production in the last few weeks but only a few of us who make it from scratch. At Milton Rum we’re making 15 times the amount of ethanol we could four days ago,” Bell said.

Another point of difference in Milton Rum’s new line of production is his commitment to making sanitiser affordable. “At the moment there’s a lot of price gouging on products including sanitiser. I don’t agree with that at all. We’re trying to keep costs down on both wholesale and our own brand sanitiser. We’re more interested in getting the product out there and potentially saving lives, rather than profiting,” he said.

The Milton Rum brand sanitiser is on sale online. The distillery received more than 120 orders in the space of three days, according to Bell. Whilst profit is not priority, the change in offering is helping to keep the Milton Rum Distillery company productive. By Government order most retailers of the popular Brisbane brand of drinks have been forced to close for the foreseeable future, he said. “I’m keen to help them too – the Brisbane bars that supported us when we launched. If they have dead stock they can bring it in and we’ll help them turn it into sanitiser for free.”

The brand’s spirits are still on sale online and in bottle shops around the city. “The expansion of the distillery to create sanitiser will actually help us when we come through this tough period. We’ll have a distillery capable of producing 160,000 bottles of rum per year, and the supply chains to fuel it.”

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