A popular south Cumbrian distillery has stopped making gin to do its bit to help stop the spread of Covid-19.
Shed 1 Distillery, in Ulverston, is aiming to make around 5,000 bottles of hand sanitiser to donate to local charities and the NHS.
It suspended gin-making so it could use its alcohol stock to help the community.
The business is not charging for the hand sanitiser, but is being supported by donations from people after it set up a Justgiving page online.
Co-owner Zoe Arnold-Bennett said: “We see Ulverston, Furness and Cumbria as a community and we try to play our part when we can.
“It was St Mary’s Hospice who first contacted us and asked if we were able to produce sanitiser.
“We knew we didn’t have the right licence but, with the advice of Alan Powell of the British Distillers Alliance, we and other distillers were able to negotiate the red tape.
“Every member of our community is important and we need to look after each other the best way we can.
“We’re filling by hand and printing off the labels on our office printer.
“So it’s even more small batch artisan than our gin! In the first week we used the alcohol we still had and filled 540 150ml bottles.”
The company was forced to stop trading due to the lockdown – although is still selling its artisan gin via its online shop.
Zoe added: “Our finances are pretty dire so we set up a JustGiving page and have been overwhelmed with the public’s support.
“As well as the general public we’ve received donations from Barrow Rotary Club, Bender UK and Askam and Ireleth History Group.
“They are paying for the materials and we are producing it.
“Then it’s being gifted to local groups, charities, and organisations, like homeless support, foodbank volunteers, nursing homes, Mind in Furness, St Mary’s Hospice and Women’s Community Matters.”
Zoe said they had also been approached by the NHS and the county council which needed hand sanitiser.
She added: “We were taken aback. We gave what we could and we’re hoping that there will be more stocks going directly to them from bigger companies.”
Shed 1 Distillery can only order 200 litres of alcohol at a time, due to its size.
Zoe said it was expecting delivery of 2,000 bottles next week.
She added: “All in all, with the money we’ve raised to date, we’ll be able to make just under 5,000 bottles. As long as we can pay for and source materials, we will continue.”