Underground spirits owner and head distiller Dr Toby Angstmann
Underground Spirits have made the decision to transition their production from liquor to hand sanitiser for use by frontline medical staff in the ACT for the foreseeable future. Image supplied.

Local distillery Underground Spirits is finding a new way to serve the community – producing hand sanitiser for use by frontline medical staff in the ACT.

Today (Wednesday 25 March) Underground Spirits’ owner and Head Distiller, Dr Toby Angstmann – who is a leading fertility specialist and a robotic surgeon – said they have completely stopped production of their gin and vodka to “dedicate our distillery 100% to the production of hand sanitiser”.

“We are working with the ACT Government to ensure that frontline medical staff in the ACT are serviced during this critical time as shortages are apparent,” Dr Angstmann said.

“Our sanitiser will go to health carers who need it most including GPs, doctors, nurses, theatre staff, Emergency Services ACT and all health services.”

Dr Angstmann said they have already pushed out a significant quantity of sanitiser, over 1,000 litres, and that they are producing around the clock. The sanitiser is being produced and sold at cost.

“We are proud to be local suppliers working with the ACT Government and other local businesses, including Bunnings, who are assisting with supply of containers. We are all clever and industrious people with a desired and valued skill set and we all need to work together to get through this difficult time.”

Dr Angstmann acknowledged it is a “very dynamic” situation at the moment, and while they are currently unable to produce enough hand sanitiser fast enough to sell it to retail customers as well, “health care professionals are our priority”.

“If we get to a point where we can sell to our customers, Canberrans will be the first to get their hands on it,” he said.

The drinks manufacturing is expected to be on hiatus for as long as it takes for this emergency to pass. Underground Spirits’ CEO, Claudia Roughley, thanked their customers for their support.

“We are all really feeling for the hospitality industry in Canberra and across the country. Folks are losing their jobs, businesses may shut down. We are doing what we can. People can still buy our vodka and gin from what stock we have available, but we ask everyone to be patient regarding queries around stock,” she said.

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Wisdom Learning