By Elesha George
Antigua Distillery Limited – the producer of the iconic English Harbour rum – has responded to local and regional demand for hygiene products by adding sanitising items to its production line.
Already, the company has introduced its ‘no virus’ surface cleaner and its gel hand sanitiser which are currently being exported to St Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla, St Martin, Barbados and Bermuda.
Shortly the company will also launch a sprayable hand rub using a World Health Organization (WHO) approved formula.
“We have three different versions of our sanitiser. We have a ‘no virus’ sanitiser which is the blue label, that is useful for your everyday cleaning – cleaning surfaces, counter tops, utensils etc.
“We recently launched our gel hand sanitiser which is the green label version with local aloe which should be used to sanitise hand and skin,” said the distillery’s master blender, Mario Wade.
The new WHO-approved product can be identified by its orange label under the same ‘no virus’ brand.
“That is equal to our gel sanitiser, except the consistency is different. Different people prefer different consistency, so we are trying to tackle both markets at the same time,” Wade said.
All of the products are free of perfumes and fragrances in keeping with the WHO standard to reduce skin irritation and allergies.
Managing director Anthony Bento also disclosed the company’s intention to offer all three items in bulk.
He said the company will be using the old Cavalier 1.75 litre plastic bottles to mass produce bulk size sanitiser products that can be sold to restaurants and other businesses at an affordable price.
The Antigua Distillery has also put forward a proposal to the government to provide sanitisers to schools island-wide.
Wade said each of the three tanks has the capacity to hold at least 8,500 litres of alcohol – enough for two and a half days’ production – adding that “we are readily available to make about three batches a day. So, we can produce roughly 400 cases of product per day if all factors are ideal”.
At present Wade said the distillery is making multiple smaller batches that equate to a larger batch until demand increases and will alternate between the gel sanitiser and the WHO-formulated hand rub.
International Trade Minister Chet Greene and Trade Coordinator ambassador Clarence Henry toured the facility on Tuesday to witness the product expansion.
Greene, who said the products have “import potential”, remarked that he was particularly pleased by the addition of aloe in the sanitisers. The minister hopes local farmers will use the opportunity to partner with the distillery to supply the aloe plant.
“This is innovation at its best. This is truly the Antiguan spirit,” he said, pledging the government’s full support.