That’s the spirit – Broken Heart distillery changes tack

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By PHILIP CHANDLER

A Queenstown distillery’s making alcohol-based hand and surface sanitisers to help combat a national sanitiser shortage during this current Covid-19 crisis.

Arrow Junction-based Broken Heart Spirits owner Joerg Henkenhaf stepped in when he found distilleries around the world were using their waste product – what his company’s website calls “the yucky not-safe-to-drink stuff” – to play their part in the fight against the deadly virus.

His distillery’s one of about 50 in New Zealand now making sanitisers.

In the past week he’s made 80 litres which has all flown out the door, and he’s getting at least 20 email requests a day.

So he didn’t have to get his product certified, Henkenhaf’s using the Word Health Organisation formula of 80 per cent alcohol, 1.45 per cent glycerol and 0.125 per cent hydrogen peroxide, though these last two products are quite hard to source.

Henkenhaf’s selling it at cost only – $25, including GST, for a litre and $15 for 500ml – through his website, www.brokenheartspirits.com, and then couriering it.

Operations manager Nicky Saggers says: “We would love to be able to give this product away for free, but we are also part of a now-struggling economy – we are only covering the costs of what we are putting together to try and help continue the business of Broken Heart.”

She says because Broken Heart supplies spirits all over the world, as well as to NZ restaurants, bars and bottle stores, its core business is in abeyance, though it’s still supplying internet orders.

Henkenhaf says none of NZ’s distillers intend carrying on making sanitisers in the long term – “this is just to help out”.

“And there will be sanitisers back on the shelves.”

He says he dropped off some product outside Queenstown’s police station on Saturday.

“I hope they didn’t think it was a bomb or something.”

scoop@scene.co.nz