A Lincolnshire gin company has temporarily paused its production of hand-crafted gin to produce antibacterial hand sanitiser in response to the global shortage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Lincoln Distillery switched its resources to making an alcohol-based hand sanitiser using a formula recommended by the World Health Organisation and was inundated with over 1,200 emails and Facebook enquiries requesting help.

While most enquiries came from emergency services and people with health concerns based in Lincolnshire, the company also received messages from businesses in Northern Ireland and London.

The Lincoln Distillery has produced one-litre, 500ml and 250ml bottles of hand sanitiser which have been donated to the NHS, care homes and emergency services as well as to vulnerable people in Lincolnshire.

Founder Matthew Felgate said: “The idea to make hand sanitiser started after I experienced difficulties in trying to get hold of some for my mum who is undergoing treatment. Everywhere was out of stock and that’s when I looked up the WHO formula and realised that we had most of the ingredients and equipment needed to produce sanitiser at the distillery.

“Although we couldn’t donate huge quantities to everyone, we made sure that everyone who got in touch with us received a supply – even if it was in the form of our smaller bottles.

“Everything happened pretty quickly and before we knew it, we were sorting out postal orders and driving around in the van to drop orders off to people. It was great to see so many people because day to day I wouldn’t normally get to go out into the community.”

Matthew’s efforts have caught the attention of national and international press.  

Matthew added: “The response to our efforts have been picked up by several media organisations including Channel 4, ITV news, local radio and The Economist – a Japanese news agency even got in touch to interview me about what we’ve been doing!”