Distillers, liquor-makers bring cheer to shortage-hit sanitiser market; promise supplies

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on March 23, 2020

Radico Khaitan, Diageo India and other distilleries to begin making sanitisers in bulk

As the country battles the spread of Covid-19, the liquor industry is pitching in to tackle the shortage of hand- sanitisers. Last week, the Consumer Affairs Ministry had urged the State governments to give necessary permissions on a priority basis to distillers who can produce sanitisers in bulk.

Distilleries and liquor firms from across the country are now either seeking fresh licences or stepping up efforts to make hand-sanitisers. The All India Distillers’ Association (AIDA) has already assured the government that it will ensure adequate amounts of ethanol and extra neutral alcohol (ENA) required to manufacturers who make sanitisers.

Distillers diversify

AIDA Director-General VN Raina told BusinessLine that distilleries have applied for licences to make hand-sanitisers in line with the government directive. “Some of them will begin production by today evening or by tomorrow morning. I believe this will enable production of hand-sanitisers in sufficient quantities to meet the spike in demand. Also, our members have stepped up efforts in providing ethanol and ENA to sanitiser makers in adequate quantities,” he added.

He said five distilleries in Punjab, four in Haryana and one each in Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have sought licences for making hand-sanitisers. In addition, as many as 10 distillers in UP have sought licences, while four units in Karnataka will be making hand-sanitisers. “Others are also going to seek such licences soon and join the effort to ensure there is no paucity of hand-sanitisers in the country,” Raina added.

Expediting clearances

State governments are already in the process of giving clearances The government has allowed these distilleries to either make the sanitisers at their units or collaborate with makers of hygiene products and deodorants to bottle these sanitisers.

In a statement, Amar Sinha, COO, Radico Khaitan Ltd, said that the company has decided to expand the use of Extra Neutral Alcohol “at its mother distillery in Rampur” into production of hand-sanitisers which will be available at retail stores in the next few days.”

Diageo India on Monday said that it will produce 3 lakh litres of sanitisers in bulk for use by public healthcare workers, and donate 500,000 litres of ENA to to enable the production of more than 2 million units (250 ml) of hand sanitisers.

Jayant Khosla, Managing Director & Group Head, VLCC Personal Care Ltd, said: “We have decided to manufacture and distribute hand-sanitisers as our contribution to the collective national effort of tackling the Covid-19 crisis and have accordingly diverted a part of our manufacturing capacity to produce them.

Last week, Dabur had announced launch of its alcohol-based sanitisers under brand “Dabur Sanitize” across e-commerce platforms.

Published on March 23, 2020

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