Two TIQ clients have quickly adapted their product ranges to ramp up production of much-needed hand sanitiser in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Their flexibility has helped them meet an important community need and diversify their income-streams during a challenging period.

Boutique liqueur maker Tamborine Mountain Distillery and Brisbane skincare product manufacturer Skin Nutrient are both producing hospital-grade hand sanitiser (75% alcohol).

Tamborine Mountain Distillery General Manager Gordon Chalmers said the company started making the sanitiser to meet urgent demand in the small community of Tamborine Mountain, approximately 70km south of Brisbane, when locals couldn’t buy the product.

‘We’re trying to do the right thing during terrible times to help slow the virus down,’ Mr Chalmers said.

‘We’re giving loads away to the most vulnerable members of the local community and local schools, aged-care facilities, pharmacies, ambulance and SES crews.

‘It’s also about trying to keep our staff employed – we want to make sure that we as a company are going to be here in 3 months or so.

‘Our bread-and-butter income-stream was our cellar-door tasting room at our distillery, which was closed down when the government introduced the restrictions on restaurants and bars.

‘Without producing hand sanitiser, we’d be looking at 5 years of hard work going up in smoke and that’s just not an option.’

Mr Chalmers said pivoting to produce hand sanitiser was easy thanks to his background in organic formulations for skin care.

‘There’s no difference between creating essential oils and alcohol – the distilling process is very similar,’ he said.

Mr Chalmers said the new product line had generated significant income, with the first day of hand sanitiser sales bringing in a normal month’s turnover.

Principal Trade and Investment Officer for the Ipswich Region Julie Mark has worked closely with Tamborine Mountain Distillery on their plans to enter overseas markets.

She said TIQ always encouraged clients to look at market diversity to ensure sustainability, and it was great to see the distillery putting this into practice.

‘Tamborine Mountain Distillery has taken this approach to whole new level by diversifying their product to support our health sector, our communities and the sustainability of their business in a very challenging situation that all businesses are facing with COVID-19,’ she said.

Meanwhile, at Acacia Ridge in Brisbane, Skin Nutrient Marketing and Creative Manager Breanna Sheather said the company had quickly ramped up production of a new hand sanitiser product when the COVID-19 outbreak first broke.

She said this had required some quick thinking to get product out the door as swiftly as possible.

‘About 6 weeks ago, we had to repurpose some of our bodywash bottles for the hand sanitiser packaging,’ Ms Sheather said.

‘These products are now readily available to Australian consumers online and in Woolworths supermarkets.

‘We also exported to China and other Asian countries when they were at their peak of the pandemic.

‘By the end of March, we had made over 2 million units.

‘We currently have an 8-week backorder for wholesale inquiries so we are ramping up production even further!’

Ms Sheather said exports of Skin Nutrient hand sanitiser would continue to China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam.

Supporting Queensland exporters is a priority under the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017-2022.

You can learn more about the support available to exporters affected by the COVID-19 pandemic on our TIQ industry recovery package page.