Two Truro businesses have combined their knowledge and product to create the region’s locally made hand sanitiser.
In the midst of COVID-19, Bric A Bank of Truro’s, Duane Boerth said hand sanitiser was in demand and his business was slowing down.
Quick thinking Duane came up with the idea of making hand sanitiser locally and created the Truro Grape Spirit Co-operative with the product, Handi Sani.
“It was a case of giving the customer what they wanted,” said Duane.
“No one could get hand sanitiser and everyone wanted it. I had a thought, if I was able to distill old wine, turn it into ethanol alcohol and into an authentic natural product that was good to use, it would be awesome.
“I wanted to produce a good quality sanitiser made for the Barossa people by the Barossa people.”
Duane says the product is “strong on the booze and soft on the hands” with lavender water, peppermint oil and pure liquid aloe vera being added to the alcohol.
Duane acknowledges bringing Craneford Wines on board assisted in solving their challenges as well.
“They jumped at it and between the time of the idea and it being bottled and onto the chemist shelves, it was under two weeks,”said Duane.
Drawing on his expertise working at Penfolds as a uni student, Duane also worked closely with a chemist to make sure the product met the World Health Organisation guidelines.
Quick evaporation and being non greasy has been welcomed by many consumers.
“I have tried some gel sanitisers which are gluggy and take a long time to
dissipate in your hands,” said Duane.
He admits there were some difficulties to overcome, particularly when it came to sourcing bottles and sprays for the product.
It’s because of this that he was able to sell out of the antique perfume bottles in his Truro shop as people searched for an alternative to house the new found product.
Duane also established the Truro Grape Spirit Co-operative, enabling people to donate their alcohol not suitable for consumption.
“That was a way to share the love,” said Duane.
“We have had people that have purchased the product and also brought along their old bottles. A food grade product has made a food grade sanitiser.”
Together with Kingsley Munchenberg, the duo undertook a few extra shifts in the peak of production to keep up with the demand.
“As time went on we were able to learn and become more efficient in production, which dramatically decreased our input costs, which were passed on in the end to the user,” said Duane.
Assisting Duane through the process has been Mr Trevor Taylor, who manages the B2B programme at Regional Development Australia Barossa, Gawler, Light and Adelaide Plains with his team of consultants.
Together they are looking for an equity partner to invest and take the product to the next step.
“We’ve hit the market at the right time,” said Duane.
“It was an opportunity to keep working. At the end of the day when you are in small business, you need to do whatever you can do to cover the costs and pay the bills.”
The feedback from the product has been positive, according to Duane, adding it doesn’t take long for it to sell out at the retail point at Priceline Pharmacy, Tanunda.
“The product is not cheap,” said Duane.
“However, a little of it goes a long way and nowadays who really wants inferior imported products.
“I love the idea of looking into our past when we made our own products which were built to last.
“The old saying still holds true, satisfaction is guaranteed for TGC Handi Sani or we will give you your money back.”