Using an alochol-based sanitizer to clean hands via iStock / Zephyr18

Czech distillers Božkov, Rudolf Jelínek to produce disinfectants during coronavirus epidemic

Helping out health officials and consumers, these Czech liquor brands will move from rum and slivovice to hand sanitizer and consumer-grade disinfectant
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Along with face masks, there’s currently a shortage of hand sanitizer and disinfectant in the Czech Republic amidst the quickly-developing coronavirus epidemic, with many Prague pharmacies and drugstores posting notices on their doors that they are all sold out.

But some Czech companies are getting creative to find ways to help. Seeing as alcohol is one of the main ingredients for most disinfectants, it’s a perfect match for some of the Czech Republic’s more traditional brands.

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At least two Czech distillers are shifting production from liquor to disinfectants during the sanitizer shortage to provide assistance both to hospitals and the public.

Stock Plzeň Božkov, which produces the iconic Czech liquor tuzemák along with other brands including Amundsen Vodka and Fernet Stock, will produce approximately 90,000 .2 liter bottles of disinfectant hand sanitizer this week.

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Working with the Czech Republic’s Ministry of Agriculture as well as the Food Chamber, Božkov has agreed to produced them free of charge and will give them both to the state for distribution and to food service chains still in operation so restaurant kitchens have plenty of sanitizer on hand.

Božkov will also provide sanitzer to the local Plzeň fire brigade and rescue workers. Initial batches are expected to be sent by the end of this week.

Rudolf Jelínek, which produces a number of varieties of the Czech brandy slivovice, has decided to manufacture disinfectant for direct sale to consumers.

“At the meeting of the Food Chamber, we expressed our ability and, if interested, our readiness to carry out disinfection production, but in fact we were not approached by any state institution,” Rudolf Jelínek Sales and Marketing Director Miroslav Motyčka said.

“[We will produce] a consumer-grade pack of 76% alcohol in half-liter bottles, with a label containing simple instructions for preparing basic disinfection.”

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Because the disinfectant will be made from consumer alcohol that includes an excise tax, the price will be affected. The cost could be cheaper by denaturing the alcohol (adding a chemical to make it unsuitable for consumption), but that would require change in the production that could take too long to fill an immediate need.

“We would like to keep the price of such a product at a meaningful level, so we will probably fit in with all costs and taxes up to 250 crowns for a half-liter bottle.”

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