Demand for this product is surging around the globe

Who would have thought that hand sanitiser would become one of the biggest selling products of 2020?

Hand sanitiser has become a must-have item, with new choices of delicately perfumed and gin-infused products now available. RACV Club suppliers Appelles and Four Pillars Gin distillery have both started manufacturing hand sanitiser to meet the high demand during the COVID-19 situation. 

Four Pillars gin distillery
Appelles premium hand sanitiser
Stu Gregor at Four Pillars gin distillery


Appelles, which is well known for its high-quality products, saw a gap in the market for a “really beautiful, premium option that looks great on your kitchen benchtop”.

The challenge for the luxury brand was getting a nice fragrance because hand sanitiser must contain either 75% isopropyl alcohol or 80% ethanol to meet Therapeutic Goods Administration guidelines.

“We were looking for two major characteristics in the development of our sanitiser – no stickiness and a fresh sophisticated smell,” says Appelles CEO Paul Tsalikis.

“Some common ingredients such as aloe vera have a tendency to leave a residue, and we wanted a product that was functional, yet not offensive.”

He says the second challenge was creating a product that didn’t dehydrate the hands, even with such a high percentage of alcohol. “We added lemon verbena to soothe but also to provide a fresh sophisticated fragrance, that didn’t require desperate use of a perfumed hand cream to cover the smell,” Paul says.

He explains that the new Appelles Lemon Verbena Hand Sanitiser is a “dry hand wash”, which cleans your hands thoroughly but leaves them dry. If you’re using it for an extended period, Paul recommends you also use Appelles Vitamin B5 Hand Cream.

“We wanted to develop a product that sits just as beautifully on your benchtop as handwashes and lotion,” he says. 

Four Pillars Gin, which is based in the Yarra Valley, was also quick to respond to the new demand for hand sanitiser.

Initially the distillery concentrated on creating Take Care sanitiser for the critical healthcare, childcare and aged care sectors, producing 40,000 litres within a fortnight. Then it created the Heads, Tails & Clean Hands to meet the broader demand.

The distillery uses the “highly alcoholic and aromatic heads and tails of each gin distillation”, along with hydrogen peroxide, glycerol and a bit of aloe vera. If you’re unfamiliar with the term “heads and tails”, it refers to the first and last parts of gin distillation, which are usually discarded. The gin you drink is the “heart” or highest-quality part that produced in the middle of distillation.

“We are using the heads and tails of our distillations to create a sanitising by-product containing 80% ethyl alcohol to meet the specifications of the World Health Organisation,” co-founder of Four Pillars Gin Stuart Gregor says.

“Because we’re using heads and tails from each distillation, the end product also has some of the aromatic properties of our gin.”

Stuart says sales of gin have fallen because of the forced closure of hospitality venues, but the company is still making gin so that it’s ready for when the coronavirus lockdown ends.

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