Monthly Archives: April 2020

How Indian Distilleries are Pouring Help to Lend a Fight Against COVID-19

The government, businesses and individuals around the world have been tackling unprecedented challenges post the COVID -19 outbreak. The unanticipated upsurge of this pandemic has had a sudden impact on our daily lives, forcing us to mend our ways overnight. As individuals, we have been confined to our homes and working remotely since the global lockdowns have been implemented – again a never before phenomenon. Businesses – the harbingers of economy – have been struggling to make sense of their service amid the sudden switch of demands. In order to ensure business continuity while also contributing to the nation and its employees in a noble way, distilleries are tweaking their ethanol production process to produce disinfectant alcohols and are also providing the facility to produce healthcare equipment. In this article, we try to present how distilleries in India (and also worldwide) are joining hands with government to overcome this pandemic.

Government Loosens the Reins to Speed Up Production of Hand Sanitizers

Apart from maintaining social distancing and covering your face, one of the most important guidelines that was published by the WHO, even as the disease was gaining prominence, was to keep the hands clean by washing them (more than) often using soap & water and/or using an alcohol based hand rub. Following this guideline, many people flocked to the nearby chemists to ‘panic-shop’ as many sanitizers as they could. This sudden demand of sanitizers led to an exhausted supply, following which, the government issued permissions to distillers and sugar mills to prioritize supply of Ethyl Alcohol, ENA (extra neutral alcohol) and ethanol, (all by-products of sugar manufacturing) used in making liquor or as fuel additive, to supply the sanitiser industry. The license approval process for manufacturing sanitizer has also been mellowed down and simplified. The prices of alcohol used in manufacturing hand sanitizers will not exceed the rates prevailing on March 5, 2020 [1].

Distillers join hand with the government to ‘sober up’ the situation

Apart from India, many of the affected countries instantly stopped manufacturing liquor and instead diverted to lend a helping hand in sanitizer production. A good part of the ethanol industry is already working in three shifts to cater to the demand. Contributing to the social cause, the Indian Sugar Mills Association and the All India Distilleries association have assured that ethyl alcohol, Extra Neutral Alcohol and ethanol will be made available to the manufacturers at a reasonable rate only. Setting an example, Indian Whiskey maker John Distilleries has started producing sanitizers at its distilleries which will be donated to healthcare institutions [2]. Another popular Liquor brand ‘Bacardi’ said it would produce 70,000 liters of hand sanitizers, which will be distributed primarily to district government hospitals, to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus pandemic [3]. In yet another way, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), that sells Budweiser and Haywards beers, is collaborating with state governments to equip 15 lakh frontline workers with masks and hand sanitizers to make for the short supply of essential protective equipment in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak [4].

Praj Joins the Aid-Wagon

Praj Industries – one of the pioneers of promoting industrial production of ethanol in India – has devised a technology to formulate alcohol into high quality sanitizers as approved by the W.H.O. at their state-of-art research center. This technology can be used to produce sanitizers with above 80% alcohol content (as prescribed by WHO). This is unlike those which do not conform to the standards, may not protect you against the virus and even make your hands dry. Praj is well positioned to boost the production of sanitizers leveraging their 750+ customer references worldwide and facilitate the process.  Considering the market crunch of authentic sanitizers and honoring the appeal of the ‘Ministry of health & defense, India”, Praj has opened access to the blueprint of sanitizer manufacturing process for standardized plant capacity of 2KLPD (20,000 bottles of 100 ml. each) and 5KLPD (50,000 bottles of 100 ml each) and has made it public on the company website. Praj has also pledged to provide remote engineering and commissioning assistance to produce sanitizers. It is also geared up to manufacture and supply specialized reactors required for production of sanitizers on a fast-track basis.