Whittaker’s co-founder Toby Whittaker
Whittaker’s co-founder Toby Whittaker and Dan Thirkell, Fundraising Manager at Harrogate Hospital

Beer turned into hand sanitizer for Harrogate Hospital

7 May 2020

Two family-run Harrogate district drinks companies have joined forces to create and deliver 25 litres of much-needed alcohol-based hand sanitiser to Harrogate & District NHS Foundation Trust.

Nidderdale-based Whittaker’s Gin collaborated with Harrogate brewery, Rooster’s, to produce clinical-standard hand sanitiser, which will be used by the local NHS to protect staff and patients and combat the spread of Covid-19.

Their efforts are in response to a national shortage of the product due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

The partnership, which was the brainchild of Whittaker’s co-founder Toby Whittaker, saw Rooster’s provide the acclaimed gin maker with 2,000 litres of surplus beer, which would otherwise have gone to waste following the Coronavirus lockdown of pubs and bars.

Using their new 1,000-litre still at its Dacre Banks distillery, Whittaker’s extracted the ethanol contained within the beer and used it to create 25 litres of hand sanitiser.

Whittaker’s co-founder Toby Whittaker
Whittaker’s co-founder Toby Whittaker

Toby said:

We have the facility and licence to distil from scratch, so I thought we could team up with Rooster’s and use their surplus beer to produce a useful product, free of charge to help our local NHS. Their incredible efforts are helping to save many, many lives and we’re proud to be able to support them at such an important time.

Ian Fozard, director at Rooster’s brewery, said:

When Toby approached us it became clear that this was an obvious way for us to help – we are sat on a large quantity of beer in cask that would otherwise have to be disposed of down the drain. It’s gratifying that it is going to good use in the NHS in these difficult times.

The delivery was received yesterday (Wednesday 6 May) by Dan Thirkell, charity fundraising manager at the Harrogate & District NHS Foundation Trust.

Dan Thirkell said:

Over the last few months we’ve seen an incredible outpouring of community togetherness and public spirit. This is yet another example of two local businesses stepping up in these unprecedented times to support our efforts and protect our frontline staff, and we’re incredibly grateful to them.

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