That’s the pandemic spirit: ‘We’ll make sanitiser’

BRISBANE DISTILLERY Company has not only performed a highly useful community service in turning its manufacturing capabilities over to producing hand sanitiser, it has also consequently boosted local employment.

While thousands of businesses have been repurposing their capabilities to create valuable services to their communities during the coronavirus pandemic, Brisbane Distillery Company joined other distillers in pausing production of their alcoholic goods to add in a new product line: alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

Brisbane Distillery Company founder, Jon Atherton was nevertheless astonished to see sales grow exponentially.  

Mr Atherton not only chose to temporarily change the whole operation of his business, but also took on the challenge of establishing a new supply chain for hand sanitiser amidst national shortages of bottles, pumps and even raw ingredients.  

To be able to meet the local demand, Brisbane Distillery hired more employees and grew the business workforce from six to 34 in a single month. Additionally, in this past month, the factory fulfilled 15,000 hand sanitiser orders – a production total of 165,000 litres. 


Having served in the Australian Army and worked across various industries over the last 30 years, Mr Atherton said he had been fortunate to have had diverse experience in running multiple businesses, establishing new networks and scaling teams. That varied knowledge has allowed him to pivot quickly, he said, and transform the distillery into a hand sanitiser factory – in turn becoming one of the largest producers in the region. 

“There is a little bit to making a really good gin that, if you focus on the details with gin, you can focus on the details with hand sanitiser as well,” Mr Atherton said. 

The sanitiser Brisbane Distillery sells is suitable for use in medical and health services, has 80 percent alcohol content that is said to kill 99.99 percent of viruses and bacteria. It is also a non-gel formula, so does not leave residue.

The product can be utilised in health care facilities – such as hospitals, aged care and other residential facilities – as well as for general consumer use. 

Supplying to federal and state police, ambulance and fire services, the team at Brisbane Distillery has been working harder than ever to keep the stock ahead of demand.

Prices for the hand sanitiser start from $10.50 per 600ml bottle with pump and from $57.50 per 5 litre bottle.


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