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Guinness maker Diageo pledges 8 million bottles of sanitiser for healthcare workers

Diageo, the world’s largest distiller, is donating two million litres of alcohol – enough to produce eight million bottles of hand sanitiser – to benefit frontline healthcare workers.

Guinness maker Diageo pledges 8 million bottles of sanitiser for healthcare workers

Diageo invested US$90 million (S$130 million) in the layout of the Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Baltimore. (Photo: AFP/Sebastien Duval)

Diageo, maker of Johnnie Walker, Guinness and Smirnoff, today (Tuesday, March 24) pledged a donation of up to two million litres of alcohol to its manufacturing partners. This will enable the creation of more than eight million 250ml bottles of hand sanitisers, amid an acute shortage. The aim is to help protect frontline healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19.

Diageo’s move comes on the back of similar initiatives by global conglomerates such as LVMH and Kering, which have shifted production capacity to tackle shortages of sanitisers and surgical masks. Other spirits makers, including France’s Pernod Ricard, have also joined in the effort.

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According to a press statement, Diageo will provide Grain Neutral Spirit (GNS) – a 96 per cent strength ethyl alcohol used primarily in production of vodka and gin – and make it available at no cost to hand sanitiser producers in multiple countries, to help overcome shortages in healthcare systems. The spirit will be made available in supply chains according to local circumstances.

“Healthcare workers are at the forefront of fighting this pandemic and we are determined to do what we can to help protect them,” said Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive of Diageo. “This is the quickest and most effective way for us to meet the surging demand for hand sanitiser around the world.”

The global plan includes:

  • The UK and the Republic of Ireland: 500,000 litres of GNS to be made available for national healthcare systems and workers across the UK and Ireland
  • Italy: 100,000 litres of GNS to support the healthcare system and other national needs
  • USA: 500,000 litres of GNS to be supplied to meet local community needs
  • Brazil: Diageo’s Ypioca plant will produce 50,000 litres of spirit for the local healthcare system, in conjunction with the Ceara State Government
  • Kenya: Diageo’s East Africa Breweries Ltd will enable production of 135,000 litres of sanitiser, prioritising vulnerable and at risk groups
  • India: 500,000 litres of alcohol to supply to the sanitiser industry across 25 States, for use in national healthcare systems and for consumers
  • Australia: Diageo’s Bundaberg Distilling Co. to produce 100,000 litres of ethanol for the Queensland Government, to be forwarded to hand sanitiser manufacturers
Source: CNA/ds

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