Aiming to slow the spread

Health Minister Dr Duane Sands tries out the hand sanitizer being developed by John Watling’s Distillery. Photos: Terrel W Carey Sr/Tribune staff

Health Minister Dr Duane Sands tries out the hand sanitizer being developed by John Watling’s Distillery. Photos: Terrel W Carey Sr/Tribune staff

TO help slow the spread of COVID-19 John Watling’s Distillery has switched gears to produce ahand sanitizer for The Bahamas.

Globally over 600 spirit manufacturers are now making hand sanitizer to combat the pandemic.

As the only super-premium spirits manufacturer in The Bahamas, “we see it as a war effort,” said Jose Portuondo, the distillery’s co-founder.

“We are lucky to have an inventory of Ethyl alcohol to fight against this virus,” added Mr Portuondo.

“For John Watling’s Distillery, there was no question in doing our part. Like the rest of our industry, we shifted our business to meet the needs of our community and those on the front line.”

John Watling’s was “designated as an ‘Essential Service’ to facilitate the start-up, manufacture, bottling and distribution of Bahamian made ‘Hand Sanitizer’”, by the Ministry of Health on April 13.

“...This does not mean we have stopped making our John Watling’s rums, Red Turtle vodka and Gun Cay rums, it just means we have an additional priority,” said Mr Portuondo.

In addition to alcohol from John Watling’s Distillery, hydrogen peroxide was sourced locally through Eugene Cartwright, 8oz. or 275ml bottles through A.R.M. Bottling & Supplies.

“What has become obvious is The Bahamas needs to become more independent,” said Pepin Argamasilla, co-founder of the Distillery.

“While most ingredients were found on-island, glycerine was difficult to find. We are actively seeking local glycerine producers.”

Jose Portuondo thanked work completed by Bahamas Customs and Tropix Shipping for delivering the glycerine imported from the United States in record time.

Further recognition and thanks in assisting with this project go to Robert Carron, Craig Symonette, Rupert Roberts Jr., Suzanne Pattusch (Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association), Bryan Russell, Andrew Mcfall, Margot Barnett, Christopher Lightbourn, Alex Paine, Esther Neilly, Lil Sam, and the dedicated production staff from John Watling’s Distillery.

The first 500 bottles of the distillery’s hand sanitizer will be delivered to the Princess Margaret Hospital; 250 bottles to the Department of Social Services for distribution to facilities housing the elderly and 250 bottles to the office of the Prime Minister.

Distribution to grocery stores, pharmacies, clinics, and hospitals will be coordinated through Bahamas Medical & Surgical Supplies Limited or through 242-328-5057 |info@bahamasmed.com.


Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 7 months ago

Please Dr. Sands, do not let this product get distributed with the traditional John Watling's Distillery labelling and branding. We can ill afford for our hospitals to get over-crowded with drinkers of this product who become dreadfully ill. We have too many in our country who will imbibe anything with the traditional labelling and branding of the John Watling's Distillery.


ohdrap4 3 years, 7 months ago

For individuals, soap and water is better.

Perhaps institutions can have hand sanitizer.

While soap is vat free, liquid soap and sanitozer attract duties and are expensive.


geostorm 3 years, 7 months ago

Thank you John Watling’s Distillery for stepping up to the challenge. We really need to step up our efforts to becoming self sufficient as a nation. There should be no need for us to import hand sanitizers.


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