Shed 1 Gin - how an Ulverston gin maker shifted production to hand sanitiser
- Credit: Milton Haworth
Gin makers in Ulverston are helping to combat Coronavirus by making hand sanitiser
An award-winning gin distillery has joined the fight against coronavirus by producing hand sanitiser.
Andy and Zoe Arnold-Bennett who set up their business, Shed 1 Gin, in their seven-foot garden shed in 2016. The pair create small batch gin using high quality botanicals and filtered water.
Actor Andy has worked with Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and in productions across the world, including in South Korea, where he met Zoe who was teaching English. He has also appeared in television dramas and in Emmerdale and Coronation Street. After appearing in a production at Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake, he took a job driving for a beer bottling business and met a range of small producers.
Zoe had been making sloe and damson gins at home in Ulverston for some time and in 2016 the couple bought the distilling equipment to start their own business.
Their range of gins now includes Cuckold’s Revenge, Shed Loads of Love, Giggle in the Ginnel, Fancy Frolic and Festive Tipple gins. It has been such a success that they moved into new larger premises, known as the Old Calf Shed at Ulverston Auction Mart last October.
Their plans for the new distillery included ‘make-your-own-gin’ events, afternoon G and Teas and gin-tasting tours. They are hoping the business will ride out the storm, but in the meantime they have embarked on a community initiative to make hand sanitiser.
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‘We were first approached by St Mary’s Hospice after the lockdown. At that point we didn’t have the necessary license,’ says Zoe.
After intervention from the British Distillers Association, HMRC relaxed their rules so permission was rushed through.
The couple wanted to give the sanitiser to charities, organisations and groups working in the community, and not charge for it. They put together a just giving page which raised £5,000.
‘Every penny goes to the ingredients and materials we need to make sanitiser,’ Zoe adds. ‘We have produced 2,000 bottles so far as well as litre-containers for the likes of ambulance crews.
‘We aim to produce between 6,000 and 8,000 bottles, then if the demand is still there, we will go back to fundraising.’
They are supplying groups
who have found it difficult
or impossible to source hand sanitiser from elsewhere and recipients to date include the NHS, nursing homes, volunteers, homeless support groups and food bank workers.
The effort has not left much time, or alcohol, to make gin, although they keep winning awards. The latest was the Small Producer Environmental Sustainability winner in the Gin Guide’s awards, which attracted entries from 30 countries.
Zoe adds: ‘We avoid plastic wherever possible and all the materials we use are recyclable/compostable. We also encourage our customers to return the bottles by taking advantage of our bottle return scheme. For every bottle returned we give cash back to the customer and donate to charity.’