Creative thinking leads Brighton & Hove to local gin distillery


Steve Trewin, stores manager at bus operator Brighton & Hove, has had to get creative sourcing PPE, with hand sanitiser being particularly difficult to track down since the worldwide shortage brought on by the coronavirus.

After exhausting his usual suppliers, Steve found an unlikely source of hand sanitiser for its frontline staff – a local gin distillery.

Seaford-based gin distillery Murray & Yeatman has started supplying medical grade hand sanitiser to vital local service providers and Steve quickly snapped up 150 litres of the stuff, which must be at least 80% alcohol to be classed as medical grade by the World Health Organisation.

As well as finding novel sources of hand sanitiser, Steve has scoured the internet to find hundreds of smaller, empty bottles so drivers can decant their own supplies from the 10 litre tubs of sanitiser in each depot.

“It is worth hunting high and low to make sure our drivers and our other colleagues feel safe,” said Steve. “Everyone is in the same boat so you have got to use your imagination and think outside the box a bit. We have a good supply of hand sanitiser from a number of different sources but this is certainly one of the more unusual.”

Rob Murray, managing director of the distillery, said the idea to make hand sanitiser came about after a friend who worked in a local care home told him he could not buy it anywhere. Meanwhile, the closure of the pubs, bars and restaurants in March was an additional catalyst to begin production.

“We decided we would do it for care homes and nursing homes throughout Sussex,” he added. “I expected there to be a couple of hundred. There are thousands! I couldn’t believe it. We started ringing round and everyone we rang said ‘look, we’re desperate’.”

Rob noted his hand gel was a cut above the rest – it uses high quality alcohol that had been distilled several times, so it leaves skin feeling silky soft.

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