John Watling’s Distillery’s Bahamian-made hand sanitizers hit the market
Distilleries around the world for weeks have stopped production of their spirits and instead have been churning out hand sanitizer in response to the global supply shortage. And now John Watling’s Distillery has joined the list of spirit manufacturers who are making hand sanitizer in an effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company is manufacturing Bahamian-made hand sanitizer to World Health Organization (WHO) standards, according to Jose Portuondo, co-founder of John Watling’s Distillery.
WHO recommends hand sanitizers contain at least 70 percent alcohol – and offers a formula for a hand sanitizer that uses isopropyl alcohol or ethanol, hydrogen peroxide, glycerol and sterile distilled or boiled cold water.
“We are lucky to have an inventory of ethyl alcohol,” said Portuondo.
Within a week they learned how to make hand sanitizer and sourced the materials to get the product rolling off the production line.
John Watling’s Distillery put together around 4,000 bottles within two days and on Friday the Bahamian-made hand sanitizer went into the market to be distributed through Bahamas Medical Supplies.
Pepin Argamasilla, John Watling’s Distillery co-founder, said the eight-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer rolled off the production line before they even had a price for it.
“It’s been an incredible week,” said Argamasilla.
“If you look through the internet you see how a lot of spirit manufacturers globally have switched over from making spirits over to making hand sanitizer because there’s a shortage in the market, and it’s difficult to find it within this market right now. We also were looking for hand sanitizer and when we found out that 70 percent of the hand sanitizer is made with the alcohol, we basically said we have alcohol, so [at] that point we researched the recipe from the World Health Organization as to how to make hand sanitizer and basically jumped on it and in a week launched the product.”
He said producing the hand sanitizer wasn’t difficult at all. But that for it to be effective, it needs to be at least 70 percent alcohol – a proof he said is critically important, and have hydrogen peroxide and glycerin for its moisturizing properties mixed in.
“If you do it only with alcohol, after a while, your hands will start getting dry and you may get lesions and then the virus can get in there. It’s very important that you use some sort of moisturizer in the product that it doesn’t actually work against you,” said Argamasilla.
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