Harrogate distillery switches production from gin to hand sanitiser to fight supply shortage

Harrogate Tipple co-founder Steven Green (left) and Andrew Jones MP.Harrogate Tipple co-founder Steven Green (left) and Andrew Jones MP.
Harrogate Tipple co-founder Steven Green (left) and Andrew Jones MP. | other
Gin distiller Harrogate Tipple has switched from gin production to hand sanitiser, with Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones successfully lobbying the Treasury to remove duty from the alcohol used in its manufacture - prompting nationwide change.

The Ripley-based firm is producing a not-for-profit alcohol-based hand sanitiser for the care sector in response to the growing need due to the spread of coronavirus. With duty due on a one litre bottle of 80% alcohol currently costing around £25,the waiving of the tax will make the products dramatically cheaper to produce.

Steven Green, co-founder of Harrogate Tipple, said: “With organisations such as care homes, GP practices and dental practices all struggling to source much-needed hand sanitiser, we realised that we could help by quickly switching production

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“Working with my fantastic production manager, Andrea Natiello, we consulted World Health Organisation guidelines and last week successfully produced our first batch of 500 bottles of 80 per cent alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

“Our plan is to supply the hand sanitiser at cost, with no profit margin, to the care sector, charities and other businesses providing vital public services. However, as a distillery, HMRC told us we would still be liable to pay duty on the alcohol used in the hand sanitiser. Fortunately, hearing of the problem, Andrew Jones got in touch and has been in discussions with HMRC which has now agreed to waive the duty, enabling us to make the product at a realistic cost.”

MP Andrew Jones said: "I believe that my approach to the Treasury on behalf of Steve and Harrogate Tipple was the first such approach made to the Treasury in the entire country about this issue but now the idea is being rolled out nationally. This initiative and the tax relief making it happen are a locally distilled solution to a national problem.

"It's important for everybody to change the way that they are doing things, and that will certainly include business. Businesses can take a pace forward to help in different ways - it could simply be through delivery of food to people's homes, it could be through in this case quite a dramatic re-purposing of the business to help with this national health emergency, but the point is, flexibility is going to be required, and this is not business as usual, we have never seen anything like this in British history - it is really not business as usual.

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Harrogate Tipple co-founder Sally Green said: “We’ve now been inundated with orders from all sorts of businesses - for example, Ripon police station as well as the Royal Mail in Harrogate which will be delivering medicines. We’ve already started production and our plan is to make as much sanitiser as we can – we’ve ordered more alcohol and other ingredients and believe we have the capacity to produce thousands of bottles a day.

"We are struggling to source enough plastic bottles of all sizes, so if any businesses have large quantities they can donate, we would really appreciate it.”

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