Rum manufacturers helping in Queensland's time of need

All for rum and rum for all.

Two of Queensland’s most iconic rum manufacturers are helping to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) by bolstering hand sanitiser stocks.

Bundaberg Rum will donate the equivalent of 500,000 bottles of alcohol to replenish supplies around the state and Beenleigh Rum will create its own line of hand sanitiser for Queensland Government frontline, transport and school workers.

Beenleigh Distillery Owner Angelo Kotses said the idea to transition to hand sanitiser came from the need to keep their own workers safe.

“Ethanol is the key ingredient of hand sanitiser and we already produce ethanol for our alcohol products," Mr Kotses said.

“We originally planned a small run of only 1500 cartons, but when the Queensland Government approached us we were more than happy to help by providing hand sanitiser for essential needs throughout the state.”

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State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Minister Cameron Dick said he could not thank the two Queensland manufacturers enough.

“My department has reached out to Queensland manufacturers and the response, particularly from two of the most-loved brands in our state, shows just how much local companies are willing to do to help Queenslanders," Mr Dick said.

“Beenleigh Rum – Australia’s oldest distillery – will commence the production of hand sanitiser this week and have arrangements to supply the Queensland Government to ensure we have a ready supply for schools and frontline workers.

“Bundaberg Rum is also going full steam ahead with the production of ethanol and will donate 100,000 litres – enough to produce about 500,000 bottles – to the Queensland Government.”

Managing Director of Bundaberg Rum’s parent company Diageo Australia David Smith said the company had a duty to support the community in this unprecedented time.

"At a time like this we will always step up and contribute when Australians need it most,” Mr Smith said.

Mr Dick said his department was working to identify more manufacturers, suppliers and producers which could retool and transition to the production essential health care supplies and other necessities

“This is the time to think laterally and broadly about how you and your business can adapt and contribute to our state’s COVID-19 coronavirus response,” he said.

“You might think it’s a long shot but innovation is critical right now.”

If you believe your business can help, the Queensland Government has created a short online form, available at qld.gov.au/qld-supplies to connect manufacturers with any new suppliers, producers and networks they may need.