A SMALL West Lothian craft distillery has turned its creative skills from its usual gin to high-strength hand sanitisers, which its has been donating to emergency services across the area.

Ross and Alyson Jamieson, better known for their trademark London dry-style tipple LinGin, run the Linlithgow Distillery, which was established just three years ago and started producing a year later.

They also make a collection of gins called the Four Marys, named after the four ladies-in-waiting of Mary Queen of Scots, who was born in Linlithgow.

Each gin is said to have been developed to match the individual characters of each of the four ladies.

However, the coronavirus pandemic put paid to gin distilling, and Jamieson said he and his wife decided to do their bit during the health crisis.

“Gin was basically going through the floor because of the closure of bars, restaurants and off sales, so we thought we’d start making hand sanitisers to do our bit and help,” he said.

“We’ve been donating it to emergency services like NHS staff, fire and rescue, police, patient transport services and various charities through the central belt.

“We’ve also given it to care homes and other businesses and we’ve been doing that for two weeks now, because it’s almost impossible to get in the shops.”

Jamieson said LinGin’s sanitiser was also deemed strong enough for use in the NHS, and he said he was surprised at the response to their efforts.

“The stuff typically available through supermarkets wasn’t that strong, but what we’re making here is 70% alcohol,” he said.

“It has to be 60% or above to kill off the bugs and we went for 70% because we thought that would be more useful.

“It’s been absolutely amazing, quite eye opening. Organisations are struggling to get sanitisers and we were quite surprised when the police came and got some.

“Demand is starting to ease off now that the big boys have started producing the stronger stuff, but we were only stepping in to fill a gap and there’s been a great demand over the past two weeks.”

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