On the eve of the second lockdown, an executive of Bombay Sapphire has told the Advertiser that the company stands “poised” to ramp up the production of hand sanitiser “should the need arise.”

During the height of the first lockdown, the distillery at Laverstoke was able to mass produce hand sanitiser as supplies fell low across the country, both for the local community and further afield.

While they have now “slowed down” production at present as specialist companies keep up with demand, Jay Basson, UK brand home general manager for the company, said that they are ready to start producing more sanitiser should shortages begin again.

“Being able to help with something so important during the pandemic is something we are incredibly proud of,” he said, “and we are humbled that we were able to help our neighbours and community.”

Jay was talking to the Advertiser in commemoration of the sixth anniversary of the Bombay Sapphire distillery opening at Laverstoke Mill.

The distillery reopened to tourists in July following the easing of restrictions after the first lockdown, with much smaller capacities than before. Jay, however, sees this as a “positive change.”

“Aside from all of the expected Covid safety measures, we also reduced our capacity to ensure smaller group sizes that are now fully guided,” he said, “making for a much more intimate and richer tour… that we have decided to make permanent.”

He said that tourists had been flocking back to the site between the lockdowns, with tours at the distillery’s new capacity having “consistently been around 80% full.”

“It is really encouraging to see that people are keen to get back out and about,” he said.

Though Laverstoke Mill may be shutting its doors to tourists once again in the upcoming lockdown, that hasn’t stopped Jay and his team planning for the future.

“In the very short term, we are currently developing plans to launch some exciting new experiences in 2021,” he said, “that will excite guests that have never visited before and hopefully entice back those among our local communities that have perhaps already taken a tour.”

The Bombay Sapphire distillery is located on London Road in Laverstoke.