Mixing It Up: gin distillery moves into production of hand gel

Bronagh Conlon

A gin distillery has begun to make hand sanitiser and from this week will also have a product suitable to be used to clean surfaces in GP surgeries.

Bronagh Conlon, managing director of Listoke Distillery and Gin School, is also a nurse, midwife and a breast cancer survivor.

"So much of me is concerned about what is happening with the coronavirus, plus I am also high risk," she said.

The gin school "has been an absolute saviour but as from yesterday we are closing it for the next number of weeks", she said.

She originally made some hand sanitiser for herself and a couple of people she was with on a food circle trip with Boyne Valley Flavours last Thursday.

On Friday she realised how many people were trying to source sanitiser.

"A few people came back to me and said 'can I get some? I am going to visit my mum and want it for her'."

That day she spoke to the Revenue Commissioners and was told she could sell it without duty because it is being used for hand washing.

"For me it was very important because I could not have afforded to do it otherwise," she said.

"As a business owner I cannot afford to take my product and give it away without having to cover duty, so what I have got is an exemption on the duty from Revenue which I have to say they get 20 out of 10 for that.

"That is exceptional and it is exceptional circumstances.

"We are keeping a record of what we have, what we are doing with it, getting it out there, the bottom line is we can do it and I think we should do it."

Production started on Saturday and 1,300 250ml bottles went out that day.