Coronavirus: Ways the UK drinks and hospitality industries are coping

Hand sanitisers

In a press release sent out today (18 March), HMRC said it is prioritising applications to use denatured alcohol in hand sanitising products.

Potential producers of hand sanitisers and gels will have their applications fast-tracked during the coronavirus outbreak to deal with the shortage in such products.

HMRC said that in the last three weeks, it has increased the limit of authorised use denatured alcohol in the production of hand sanitiser gels, totalling 2.5 million additional litres.

Drinks companies, particularly distillers, are well placed to make such products. Those companies making these products already include Bristol’s Psychompomp Microdistillery & Circumstance Distillery, Silent Pool Distillery in Surrey and brewer and distiller BrewDog. Others include LVMH (in France), Altia (in Finland) and Absolut Vodka (in Sweden).

Free / discounted deliveries to your door

Many local retailers, smaller distributors, wineries, breweries and distilleries are either offering free or heavily discounted deliveries. Many of these offers only apply to the local area, but please check with your local supplier.

Larger suppliers are mostly continuing with the delivery side of their operations, while office staff work from home.

Companies are able to drop your order at your door if you’re unable to leave the house due to self-isolation. Some are offering a more tailored service than usual, for example Westerham Brewery in Kent has a ‘self-isolation’ option, allowing customers to drive to the brewery, call a number and a member of staff will bring out an order to the boot. Chesters Wine Merchants in Abergavenny is even offering a wine-by-bike delivery option.

Casamigos Tequila has unveiled delivery “within the hour” to Londoners, while Scout Bar in Hackney is offering its customers a pick-up and delivery service, bottling its classic cocktails, including the Negroni, Manhattan and Vesper, in 200ml and 500ml containers. The bar has plans to expand this service in due course.

Hedonism Wines will be continuing with deliveries as normal in London and nationwide and will maintain shipping internationally. It is offering free delivery on orders over six bottles in London and UK.

Some businesses are also lifting minimum orders requirements for delivery, enabling customers to order wine and other alcohol at the volumes they require.

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