Marketplace becomes manufacturer in just four weeks

A Yorkshire business has transformed its operations in just four weeks from online retail marketplace to hand sanitiser manufacturer, with capacity to produce 50,000 bottles a day.

The Great British Exchange in Harrogate has secured ethanol supplies – a key ingredient in making hand sanitiser – from 30 of its 215 UK-based gin, whisky and rum producers for the product.

It will be sold to support front-line public-sector, retail services and is being made available for consumers as well.

The firm has branded its hand sanitiser The Great British Formula. It is now in full production using ethanol from British distilleries and will be available to purchase from this week.

The Great British Exchange is best known for its British giftware and in-store pop-ups which are now active in 30 John Lewis stores around the country to showcase local brands.

Managing director, Matthew Hopkins, said: “Our mission has always been to give emerging British brands a route to the retail sector whilst giving consumers easier access to the locally produced food, drink and gifts that they crave.

“The hand sanitiser project has enabled us to facilitate a new market for our gin and rum producers where we take care of the regulatory, supply chain and sales side of things leaving them to focus on what they do best.”

He explained the success of the project had proved the importance of localism to the UK economy.

“The only way we have been able to turn this around so quickly is thanks to our strong relationships with British producers and retailers and our understanding of how to bring the two together.

“This initiative has put our creativity and agility as a business to the test but it is a real game changer for us and our partner brands.

“Over the past 12 months we have coped with a depressed high street, low consumer confidence caused by Brexit and now coronavirus.

“We are still fighting and will continue to fly the flag for British brands and local sourcing because we strongly believe this is what the British public wants.”