Skip to the content

Coronavirus

Coronavirus
The latest updates from the Scotch Whisky industry on the current coronavirus outbreak, including information on distillery visitor centre closures and our hand-sanitiser portal

Hand sanitiser from distilleries

We are gathering information to connect distillers who can produce high-strength ethanol and/or hand sanitiser with packagers, distributors, and organisations who are in need of hand sanitiser. 

Click here to complete our online portal and tell us what you need, or what you can supply. 


Updates to this page are ongoing as the situation progresses. Please check back here for our latest statements, and information on Scotch Whisky distillery closures.

SWA statement (last updated 14th May 2020)

“The health and wellbeing of the Scotch Whisky industry’s employees is our primary concern. As a result, the industry has significantly scaled-back operations in order to protect the safety of our workforce during the COVID-19 crisis. All sites that continue to operate have strict social distancing in place to protect employees, in compliance with Food Standards Scotland and Scottish Government guidance. 87% of production sites are either operating at reduced capacity or have closed entirely. One third of employees continue to work at company premises; all other staff are not required to leave home.

“All companies have consulted employees and union representatives on the measures taken to ensure social distancing at sites, to ensure their support for and confidence in the measures and their implementation. The industry has also had detailed discussions with the Scottish Government, including about why it is important to keep limited operations going in order to protect employment and our industry’s contribution across Scotland’s economy and for the production of hand sanitiser and ethanol to support health services during the crisis.

“The outlook for our sector, as for many others, is uncertain. The collapse of global hospitality, tourism and travel retail sectors is a very real concern and this year we are likely to experience a significant downturn in exports. However, as the UK moves into recovery, the industry will work hard to regain our strength in markets globally as countries start to lift restrictions put in place to slow the spread of Covid-19. In doing so, it will be critical to us to have the support of government in keeping global markets open and trade flowing.

“The industry continues to support frontline health services, emergency services, local communities and other industries with the provision of hand sanitiser and ethanol for medical purposes. A number of companies are either manufacturing hand sanitiser on-site or providing high strength ethanol to other manufacturers; the latest figures show that over the next two months we expect the industry to provide 14.1 million litres of ethanol – enough to make around 56 million bottles of hand sanitiser. This is in addition to the hand sanitiser that many distilleries are producing to meet local needs.

“In the early stages of the UK outbreak of Covid-19, the SWA launched an online portal which helps distillers to source necessary ingredients and organisations in need of sanitiser to specify their requirements. Those who can support with packaging and distribution can also state on the portal how they can assist. The response to the portal from across the UK and overseas has been overwhelming and we have received a great deal of positive feedback from users.”

Useful links

Related releases

Scotch Whisky Industry Seeks Clarity on Business Support (23rd March)

New Portal Launched to Help Scotch Whisky Industry Supply Hand Sanitiser (25th March)

Hand Sanitiser Portal sees Huge Demand One Month On (22nd April)


Hand Sanitiser Portal

The online portal set up by the SWA to connect distillers with frontline health services and other organisations in need of hand sanitiser or ethanol for medical purposes, has seen more than 150 submissions over twomonths.

Distillers across Scotland have currently pledged over 14.1 million litres of ethanol to support the production of more than 56 million bottles of hand sanitiser. In addition to this, hand sanitiser is being produced locally to meet demand in local communities, coming from care homes, the police, local councils and food manufacturing.

Scottish Government Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, Ivan McKee said:

“Our health and care system is facing unprecedented demand, so it’s tremendous to see so many step up to support the national response to COVID-19 and I’d like to thank the Scotch Whisky Association and its members for their continued efforts to protect those working in frontline services and local communities. The online portal is a creative way to bring together Scottish distillers and organisations seeking supplies. We are grateful to everyone involved in this work to deliver what is needed, when it is needed.”


Details of Scotch Whisky distillery visitor centres which are closed or have temporarily suspended tours due to the coronavirus outbreak are listed below. If you know of a distillery visitor centre which has amended their tour policy but is not listed here, please contact info@swa.org.uk 

Please note that the SWA cannot assist with rebooking or cancelling a prebooked tour - you will need to contact the distillery individually who can advise what to do next. Links to distillery websites are provided below.

Some distilleries not listed here may have precautionary measures in place for any visitors to their sites. For the avoidance of doubt, please check directly with any distillery or visitor centre before you visit.

For general information about visiting Scotland, please check the VisitScotland website.

Hand-Sanitiser Portal

A form to help Scotch Whisky producers connect with related industry suppliers to provide high-strength alcohol and/or produce hand-sanitiser to help combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Coronavirus news & commentary

22 April 2020

SWA Sees Huge Demand for Hand Sanitiser One Month on from Portal Launch

An online Portal connecting Scotch Whisky distillers making ethanol and hand sanitiser with organisations in need of it during COVID-19 has seen over 130 registrations in just three weeks.

25 March 2020

New Portal Launched to Help Scotch Whisky Industry Supply Hand Sanitiser

The Scotch Whisky Association has launched an important tool for companies to help meet the demand of organisations that need supplies of hand sanitiser.

23 March 2020

Scotch Whisky Industry Seeks Clarity on Business Support

The Scotch Whisky industry is seeking urgent assurances from Ministers on aspects of the government's business support package, announced last week as a result of the economic disruption being caused by COVID-19.