Timboon Distillery, together with a team of scientists at Port Fairy's Sun Pharmaceuticals, heard the calls of South West Healthcare and Moyne Health and have created a hand sanitiser to fill the gap.
Timboon Distillery's Josh Walker said the project was a lifeline for the boutique business.
"I basically had to lay off staff with the restaurant forced to close and had to look at other ways to keep the business going," he said.
"I drove to Warrnambool and walked into the hospital and asked who I could speak to about making hand sanitiser.
"I'd never made it before but we make ethanol for our whiskey and figured out we could make it in a cheaper form using other ingredients.
"We can't afford to make whiskey now with the bills coming out and staff wages but this is a way to keep staff employed and basically survive for the next three months."
A team of scientists at Port Fairy's Sun Pharmaceuticals found a way to use leftover products to create the hand gel with the alcohol from the distillery.
Sun Pharma business director Urvish Bhavsar said with 96 per cent of their business comprising of overseas exports, the opportunity provided a way for them to retain all 130 of their staff in Port Fairy and help in a time of great need.
"This is a crisis time for everyone and when we came to know the local hospitals weren't able to get any of this alcohol gel the people in our technical department got to work to make a formula," he said.
"We had around 15 PHD professors and scientists working on site and worked it out very quickly.
"We're doing it totally for free, I think in this current time of crisis if we can help the community then we'll do it. It's such a difficult time and this product will be critical for patients, especially for those receiving chemotherapy or in palliative care."
A new 1650 litre still was installed at the Timboon Distillery on Thursday alongside their current 600 litre still to produce around 1500 litres of raw alcohol product a week to supply to the hospitals.
South West Healthcare chief executive Craig Fraser said the hospital held emergency talks with Sun Pharma and Timboon Distillery last week to work out what might be possible.
"It kicked into motion a unique collaboration to investigate options for shoring up a local supply chain for hand sanitiser - at least 1000 litres of which South West Healthcare, alone, needs every 10 days," he said.
"First thing next week it's expected SWH will receive the delivery of its first batch of locally-produced hand sanitiser, made to World Health Organisation standards. This supply will not only support infection prevention measures at SWH campuses, but the campuses of 10 other local health services SWH works closely with, from Lorne to Casterton and everywhere in between.
The entire supply chain across the medical industry is under enormous stress. Just look at what can be achieved by goodwill, collaboration and determination to protect our communities.Craig Fraser, South West Healthcare
"The entire supply chain across the medical industry is under enormous stress. Just look at what can be achieved by goodwill, collaboration and determination to protect our communities. We are so thrilled with this outcome.
"It will help protect the patients, consumers, aged care residents, visitors and staff of 11 regional health services. It will remove pressure from local suppliers, allowing them to focus on getting their product into the community.
"It will free us up to concentrate on dozens of other pressing high priorities. It will give communities confidence that this essential piece of the supply chain is secure. And it will keep local people in local jobs."
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