When a gin distillery in Ulverston made the decision use their equipment to manufacture hand sanitiser during the coronavirus pandemic, they had no idea how high the demand would be.

Shed 1 Distillery, which is based on North Lonsdale Road, has been run by Andy and Zoe Arnold-Bennett since 2016 and had been offering tours around the premises as well as high-quality gins.

However, lockdown meant the former was no longer possible and to keep themselves busy, they made the decision to produce sanitiser from the alcohol at their disposal and supply that to volunteer groups across Cumbria.

In many cases, they were the only supplier in the county, with surgeries north of Carlisle benefitting from their hard work, and the whole experience has been an ‘eye opener’ for the company.

Andy Arnold-Bennett said: “It took over, really. Once lockdown came, there were no tourists in the area and the wholesale side of things had really slowed down.

“But we were busier than we had every really been.

“You had to basically source and get out a whole new product and this more or less happened overnight.

“We were happy to do it, although we were surprised by just how busy we were.”

Shed 1 managed to raise £5,250 via a Just Giving page set up by Zoe to fund production of hand sanitiser after being given permission by HMRC to start manufacturing it.

They were blown away by the response, which included one donor doing a sponsored walk between the top and bottom of his garden (around seven metres) for the equivalent distance of the height of Ingleborough, which is in Yorkshire.

Although they are still producing sanitiser, things are slowly returning to normal for the distillery, which will finally be able to start welcoming visitors again from next week.

Andy Arnold-Bennett said: “We haven’t got the space to open up to the public like we used to, so what we’re doing is, if you’re in a social bubble, you can book time in the distillery. You can have an afternoon G&T, or you can have a gin tour and tasting, or you can make your own gin.

“You can book a time slot and there’s only that group in the distillery at that time and that allows us to clean the place down ready for the next group."

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