In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, a local brewery has stepped up to the mark to help prevent the spread of the virus by producing hand and surface sanitizer.
9 White Deer Brewery in Ballyvourney suffered a crash in its sales of alcohol after the virus forced pubs, hotels and restaurants to close their doors.
Owners of the brewery, Gordon Lucey and Don O’Leary, who were forced to let eight staff members go, are now out of work.
Despite the difficult time, they divulged into something new and have secured the production of hand sanitizer, as well as surface sanitizer which it is already supplying to members of the public, hospitals, care centres and ambulances.
It all started with a drum of surface sanitizer which was left at the back of the brewery so locals could come and go as they pleased to top up their containers with sanitizer from the drum.
Now, Mr Lucey and Mr O’Leary have secured the production of alcohol-based hand sanitizer which will be available to purchase from next week.
Mr Lucey said that although they offered the surface sanitizer free of charge, that they unfortunately will have to charge for the hand sanitizer as they have to “pay a bit of money for it”.
Speaking to The Echo, he said: “The plan is to have it in 200ml bottles for the general public and for anyone like chemists or shops that go through a lot of it, we’d have five litre drums available.
“We have it in a very concentrated form and because we buy so much of it and it needs a specific ratio of water to mix with. It’s very reactive so we make it up fresh every day."
Mr Lucey said that the sanitizer “100% breaks down biologically and there’s nothing harmful in it” but he recommended people not keep it for weeks and instead use it within a few days.
9 White Deer Brewery is also providing healthcare workers and frontline workers with information about sanitizing.
“We’re just trying to help others and help people who mighn’t be knowledgeable about cleaning and sanitization, whereas in a brewery, it’s everything we do and we become experts at sanitizing and cleaning and bacteria, yeast and virus management.
“Even Milton is effective against this, we’re lucky it’s a really easy virus to kill.
“Everyone seems to be using alcohol sprays for everything, where if they were just using that for hands and using your standard disinfectant for surfaces, it would spare it,” he said.
He said that they are currently producing about 20 litres of surface sanitizer a week and offered to supply it for free to anyone in a “health department agency, hospital or care home”.
He said that there is yet to be a webpage set up for the sale of the hand sanitizer but that people can call the brewery to order some.
“We’re doers really and we’ve just gone out and done it and we’ll figure out the finer details after. In a crisis like this, you just need things done to help.” He said that despite the crash of his business, that “there'll always be business, but we only have one shot to keep everyone healthy”.
To order hand sanitizer from 9 White Deer Brewery, email email@example.com or text 086 8061313.