18/04/2020

Good news story: Gin producer makes sanitiser for local hospice

Zoe Arnold-Bennett, co-founder of Shed 1 Distillery.

“My husband and I launched the distillery in our 7×7 foot garden shed in 2016. We create award-winning, classically distilled, contemporary-style gin, gin liqueur and gin marmalade.

In October, 2019, we moved to the The Old Calf Shed and opened a public space. We’re the first in Cumbria to offer Make Your Own Gin Experiences and created an Afternoon G&Tea.

Everything was really starting to take off and the diary was looking healthy with gin experiences and private events. We had journalists and tourism agents booked to come and see us.

Then COVID-19 hit us all.

We were asked by our local hospice, St Mary’s, if we could make sanitiser. We didn’t have that particular licence but Alan Powell, British Distillers’ Alliance, gave us advice and then the HMRC relaxed their rules to make it easier for people like us to start producing.

Financially, we’re not in a great place so we asked the public to help and have been overwhelmed by their response. Over £5,000 raised and every penny will be used to buy materials. All the sanitiser is being gifted to charities, organisations and groups around Cumbria. Production is basic! Mixing in buckets, filling by hand, printing labels from our home computer. However, it feels good to be able to do something practical and helpful at this time. The need is much greater than we imagined and we will do out best to get as much out to as many people as possible.

As for Shed 1, we have gin in stock and we’re posting out orders and delivering in the local area. We believe we can ride out the storm, we have to as Shed 1 is our business and our passion. We will reopen and when we do we’re going to have such a gintastic shindig!”

You may also be interested in our Doing Good with Food story on how Manchester chef Mary-Ellen McTague is taking the lead to help feed NHS staff.

Look out for more good news stories as we cover how women are doing good with food during the lockdown and beyond. Be the first to hear by signing up to our newsletter.

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