Irish spirit: Irish Distillers and Mervue make hand gel

Irish Distillers, makers of Powers and Jameson Whiskey, is to make hand sanitiser gel in collaboration with Mervue Labs in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.[

Irish Distillers is going to supply hand sanitising gel for free to the HSE in partnership with Cork firm Mervue Laboratories.

Between them, the two companies are going to provide the HSE with large-scale quantities of alcohol-based hand sanitising gel to aid front line staff.

“This has been a real team effort of people who care for their country and want to do what we can at a time of national crisis”

According to Mervue Labs, its director William Twomey became concerned at the lack of supply of hand gel, a situation exacerbated by countries closing their borders and holding onto stocks and raw materials.

Twomey decided to divert the company’s normal manufacturing and production facilities to tackle the hand gel shortage.

“Mervue Laboratories are using the production facilities of our Watergrasshill factory to produce hand sanitising gels from this week onwards,” he said. “We have diverted staff from normal business which we have put on hold in the national interest in order to meet the unprecedented demand and the requirements of the HSE and the amazing front line staff.”

One of the key ingredients of hand sanitizing gel is alcohol. “We at Mervue Laboratories have partnered with Irish Distillers based in Middleton. The team in Irish Distillers in Middleton came on board and offered to provide large-scale quantities of alcohol free of charge in order to get supplies to the HSE as soon as possible and to support the government in the fight against Covid-19/Coronavirus.”

Cork pharmacist Ciaran O’Sullivan explained: “Hand sanitiser is in short supply around the world because of the pandemic and it is fantastic that two Cork-based companies have come together to help our very strained health system. Hand sanitiser is essential for our health services as provided it is made of 60pc alcohol it can be effective in killing off the virus. It is essential it is available in large quantities for frontline staff in order to protect them and help save lives.”

A perfect blend

Twomey said that tie-up between Mervue and Irish Distillers is the perfect match of a local Irish company and multinational based in Cork working together in the time of unprecedented circumstances.

“In combination with the procurement team in the HSE and the Department of Agriculture, we in Mervue Laboratories and Irish Distillers have worked tirelessly over the last week to make things happen.

“This has been a real team effort of people who care for their country and want to do what we can at a time of national crisis; showing what is really possible when people with a passion come together to solve a problem and do the right thing.

“We hope our contribution will help the amazing teams in front line services in our health services. We have such respect for the amazing frontline and support staff in the HSE who are working tirelessly to reduce the impact of Covid-19 and who have reached out to us in industry and made this initiative possible.

“We in Mervue are proud to be on call for Ireland,” said Twomey.

Written by John Kennedy (

Published: 20 March, 2020