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Coronavirus West Berkshire: Distillery aims to redress pricing balance

Compton-based Hawkridge Distillers has already produced 1,000L of hand sanitiser

Sarah Bosley


01635 886655

Coronavirus West Berkshire: Distillery aims to redress pricing balance

Managing director of Hawkridge Distillers, Phil Howarth

A Compton-based gin distillery is hoping to redress the balance of what it believes is extortionate pricing for hand sanitisers during the current coronavirus crisis.

Hawkridge Distillers Ltd has halted production of its hop-infused gin and turned its attention to manufacturing alcohol-based hand sanitiser – a product currently in huge demand worldwide - which it is now supplying to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and NHS South Central Ambulance Service.

Managing director, Phil Howarth, said the company was disappointed to see so much of the product – essential to protect the health of everyone in the battle against coronavirus – selling at a hugely inflated cost.

“I’ve been particularly upset to see so many companies and eBay sellers ripping people off with extortionately priced hand sanitiser,” he said. ”I’ve seen quantities as little as 1.5L being sold for £90.

“We have got an opportunity, as a distillery, to stop these crazy prices that some people are selling it for.

“We are trying to redress the balance and put our time to good use. We have the facilities already here to do it.

“We have got about 1,000 litres ready to go within the next few days and our priority is ensuring the local market are supplied.

“All the ingredients are very hard to come by at the moment; even sourcing plastic bottles has been hard.”

The company, which usually produces gin for The Vineyard and West Berkshire Brewery, is making the product to World Health Organisation (WHO) specifications and also supplying it for free to volunteer groups and at cost price to front line organisations.

Other organisations can buy the sanitiser in 5L quantities at a market price.

To order the sanistiser in 5L and 1L containers email or visit

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