A GIN distillery that turned “wasted” alcohol into sanitiser during the coronavirus lockdown has begun full-scale production in partnership with a Hampshire distributor.

Conker Spirit has teamed up with Ringwood-based Comax UK, which supplies hospitality businesses, care homes and schools with cleaning, catering and PPE.

Comax, which has been in business for more than 25 years, had to adapt rapidly to huge demand for sanitiser and PPE as the Covid-19 crisis took hold, initially prioritising the NHS, care homes and schools.

With the hospitality industry trading again, it has joined forces with Bournemouth-based gin brand Conker Spirit, which in April began using its distillery to help supply sanitiser to the NHS, police, care homes and other key worker businesses.

Conker Spirit gave away hundreds of 70cl bottles of its hand sanitiser, dubbed Community Spirit, at the start of the lockdown.

The product was made from the wasted alcohol, or “heads”, of the distillation process.

Companies from all over the country flooded Conker Spirit’s inbox after its efforts received press coverage.

Founder Rupert Holloway said: “That’s when we knew it was going to take more than a gesture of a few hundred bottles of free sanitiser.

“There was a genuine need for us to go into full-scale production of the World Health Organization (WHO) formulation hand sanitiser, and quickly.”

Since then, Conker Spirit has manufactured more than 80,000 litres of WHO Formulation Hand Sanitiser alongside its usual distillery operations. It has been supplying frontline services, key worker businesses and domestic customers.

It has taken the sanitiser production to a new level with the launch of Sanitise, a separate company in the Conker group that promises “ethically priced, beautifully presented” sanitiser for the hospitality industry and other businesses.

Comax UK, based at Yeoman Road, has become its distributor to get Community Spirit Hand Sanitiser into bars, hotels and restaurants across the country.

The product is available to order via Comax UK in 500ml and five litre containers.


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