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Latest results from Portman Group and UCL studies highlight continuing UK moderate majority throughout lockdowns and beyond

You may have read last week initial reports that University College London’s ongoing COVID-19 study had found that half of adults reported that they were drinking more now compared to a year ago.

Whilst the headlines were certainly startling, UCL have since confirmed that the initial press release was incorrect due to a technical error and has been retracted and updated.

In actual fact, the UCL survey[i] of over 70,000 UK adults across the UK found that 83% of adults reported either no change (65.5%) or a reduction (17.5%) in their alcohol consumption now compared to March/April 2020. Instead of half, only around 17% of adults reported they had been drinking more.

These results fit with the results of our most recent poll with YouGov, where 73% of UK drinkers said that they were either drinking the same or less since the beginning of the pandemic compared to previous years. In our poll close to a third (32%) of UK drinkers said they had reduced their alcohol consumption, whilst just over a quarter (26.3%) said they were drinking more[ii].

Adding the latest data to our tracking of 33 publicly available polls from the start of the pandemic, commissioned by groups such as the Portman Group, Public Health England, Drinkaware and Alcohol Change UK, shows that over three quarters (77%) of UK adults are drinking the same or less over the past year.

Taken together around half (51%) of adults report no change to their alcohol consumption, whilst over a quarter (26%) report drinking less and under a quarter (23%) report drinking more.

Increases in consumption should also be placed in context, with the Portman Group’s latest and previous polls suggesting that many who are drinking more still remain within the Chief Medical Officer lower-risk guidelines. The latest UCL research also provides some encouraging news that 40.1% of UK adults drinking over the Chief Medical Officer guidelines of 14 units per week had decreased their drinking.

However, our latest findings also echo previous concerns that increases over the past year have been fuelled by those already drinking at heavier and more harmful rates[iii]. The reasons for this increase are likely multifaceted and potentially exacerbated by continued lockdown restrictions cutting off social and professional support or deterring people from seeking help in the first instance.

As we emerge from lockdown our shared efforts need to focus on tackling hazardous drinking and helping those struggling with alcohol dependence or those on the brink of dependence. We would encourage all those concerned about their drinking, or about the drinking of someone around them, to seek help from a health professional or visit Drinkaware.co.uk for free support and practical advice.

Yet it is also useful to take a step back and see that the moderate majority of UK population, on the whole, drank the same or have cut down their alcohol consumption over the past year, dispelling the myth that Britain turned to the bottle during the pandemic.

[i] UCL COVID-19 Social Study Results Release 33, 23 April 2021

[ii] Portman Group: Brits return to the pub – but it’s for pals not pints, 9 April 2021

[iii] Portman Group-YouGov survey on alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 lockdown, June 2020

Taking Responsibility – The Portman Group hosts first event

Last week, the Portman Group hosted its inaugural seminar in the Taking Responsibility series.  The ‘Responsible Regulation of Alcohol Seminar’ showcased the self-regulatory model, reviewing the changes from the past three years since the Code was revised and embedded, and lookied forward to likely changes in the regulatory landscape for 2021.

There were four key speakers: Portman Group Chair, Philip Rycroft, Portman Group CEO, Matt Lambert, Director of Regulation, Laura Demorais and Advice and Training Manager, Rebecca Oladipo. The event was attended by key industry figures, organisations, and businesses as well as retailers including representatives from major supermarket chains.

The Code and Regulatory Landscape

Philip Rycroft opened the seminar providing his perception as to the current regulatory landscape for alcohol. He underscored that the post-COVID-19 recovery will be challenging and unpredictable and the industry needs to work together to demonstrate its commitment to responsible retail and marketing, with the Portman Group playing its essential role.

This year, the Code celebrates its 25th Anniversary and Laura Demorais explored the significance of the Code of Practice and how this has informed where alcohol regulationl stands today. She detailed the Code’s recent history, seen in further detail in the Regulating Through Change report. She considered the significant changes made to the Sixth Edition of the Code which included adding protection of the vulnerable as an overarching principle; a new rule on widespread offence; and adding that a product should not suggest any association with illegal behaviour – to name just a few additions. The industry stepped up to demonstrate its support for the Code and the resulting audit showing 95% compliance with the amended Code. Laura also shared some landmark decisions which are particularly relevant to current regulation-related issues.

Advice and Training

Rebecca Oladipo provided an overview of the Portman Group’s training offer. She highlighted the complex way in which alcohol regulation is managed, with the Portman Group working closely with the ASA, Ofcom and the law. The full list of the organisations involved in regulating the alcohol space can be read here. Given the complex environment, and to ensure that the Code is easily interpreted and reflected in marketing before a product launch or promotion, the Portman Group offers free and confidential advice to the whole sector – whether a large or small producer or marketing agency. This advice has enabled producers to avoid hundreds of potential complaints about products going to market which could have been upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel, thereby pre-emptively protecting consumers.

Rebecca also announced the launch of a new training course designed specifically for retailers. This was put together in response to discussions with major retailing groups and seeks to address buying, marketing, and corporate teams. If you would be interested in booking, please contact info@portmangroup.org.uk

Looking to the future

Finally, Matt Lambert discussed the Portman Group mission and aims for the coming year. With 25 years of successfully providing a world leading self-regulatory system the Portman Group wants to lay the groundwork for another 25 years as a strong and effective regulator. The Portman Group delivers high-quality self-regulation in a way that responds to changes in society and at no cost to the public purse. This year will see a focus on the regulation and promotion of low and no alcohol and a focus on strengthening the self-regulatory model, chiefly by welcoming new members and broadening the reach of the Portman Group.

We wanted to thank our audience for engaging with the programme and their questions. this resulted in an interesting discussion exploring the Portman Group’s relationship with the ASA and the continued discussions surrounding the use of the word ‘skinny’ as a product descriptor.

This is the first event in our series and our next seminar is planned for July. For updates on future events, keep checking the website and our Twitter feed, @PortmanGroup. If you have any questions on the seminar, the issues discussed or the new training service, please contact info@portmangroup.org.uk

Running the alcohol recovery day programme during COVID-19

Ben Parker, Senior Peer Support Worker & Group Facilitator, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust

Every day I work with those who have struggled with alcohol and substance addiction. We run a ‘Recovery Day Programme’ as part of rehabilitation in the community. It helps those who have struggled with substance use to come together to develop tools for their well-being and personal growth and strategies to prevent a relapse.

Prior to the pandemic, our three-month abstinence-based programme was heavily focused on in-person contact and group work. However, the lockdown quickly changed that, forcing us to think on our feet and adapt our programme so we could provide ongoing support to our clients at a distance.

We had to think around the problem and utilise technology.

We encouraged our client’s set-up on WhatsApp and Zoom allowing us to keep the group connected. It was vital to ensure continued group support, and to stay in touch

virtually to allow meaningful interventions. Within two weeks we had successfully built an adapted programme online.

However, some were digitally excluded so we ensured that they wouldn’t miss out. We posted the group work to complete with a self-addressed envelope to return. We also ensured that these clients were called more regularly to receive support. When initial restrictions were lifted, we set up a conference facility in the office to allow for group work, while the rest of their peers met on Zoom.

It is amazing how tech can be an effective way to reach out beyond the service, and to help in its support. Given the lockdowns every one of us knows the importance of remaining in touch with our loved ones. Some people who are alcohol dependent may have lived a chaotic or unmanageable life style, resulting in difficulties with close relationships. It was truly rewarding that this time and our engagement with smartphones actually helped a client to see his Mum for the first time in a year. By showing him how to share video through WhatsApp he is now better supported at home. We are now in talks about rolling out digital devices to those who may be excluded from accessing interventions which are facilitated on a virtual platform.

This hybrid model has enabled us to better cater our support to people’s lives, allowing people to get help how best they choose – either in-person or online – whilst still allowing them to stay connected. We were extremely conscious that people didn’t lose out who couldn’t access technology, but have noticed that others, especially with childcare needs or have cultural stigmas around treatment, were more willing to participate. It has been described to me as a blessing in disguise and we have seen younger people and those with physical difficulties state that this is a better format for them. Zoom has broken down barriers.

This change, which came out of necessity, will likely become the new normal going forward.

Portman Group’s Advisory Service issues guidance on CBD

CBD products are a fast-growing market in the food, beverage, and health industries. However, in the alcohol industry, this is still an emerging innovation and we have therefore produced guidance to help the industry in marketing CBD infused alcohol products.

Our new guidance makes it clear that there is a distinction between cannabis and CBD. Cannabis is a controlled drug, and its use, growth and distribution are illegal in the UK.  In contrast to this, CBD is a legal cannabinoid in the UK.  Therefore, references to CBD will not necessarily breach the Code rule on illicit drugs.

The law on the use of CBD in food and drink products is complex and the Portman Group does not imply that the inclusion of CBD in alcoholic drinks is legally permitted.  We urge producers to seek legal advice before placing products containing CBD on the market.

Precedent

The Independent Complaints Panel recently ruled that a CBD infused product, Colorado High, breached the Code on two counts.

As part of the case, the Panel noted that the back label of the product stated ‘wellness-enhancing CBD’ and ‘Colorado High is a spirit that supports your body’s natural balance’.  The Panel was of the view that these statements did convey a health benefit.

In addition to this, after carefully considering the risk that consumers might infer therapeutic qualities from the descriptor ‘CBD Gin’, the Panel concluded on the basis of the evidence in this case that products containing CBD should name it as an ingredient but should not incorporate CBD into the name of the product, the product descriptor or feature it prominently on their packaging.

The Panel concluded that the description ‘CBD Gin’ on the front of the bottle, as well as the claims about wellbeing elsewhere on the packaging, breached Code Rule 3.2(j).

The Panel also noted that Colorado was one of the first states in the US to decriminalise recreational cannabis and that ‘high’ was commonly associated with drugs. The Panel considered that in this context these elements created an indirect association with illicit drugs and upheld the product under Code Rule 3.2(c).

CBD Guidance

The guidance focuses on two main areas under the Code, but it is important to remember that the entirety of the Code will still apply.

Illicit Drugs

Words and images associated with recreational cannabis are likely to create an association with illicit drugs and should be avoided.

If there is any claim, implied or explicit, for the effect of CBD (for example linked with a brand name) then this is likely to be found in breach of the Code.  This type of claim is problematic whether or not the claimed effect is likely to be achieved in practice.  For example, the ‘high’ in ‘Colorado High Gin’ was found to create an association with illicit drugs, even though CBD is not normally associated with a ‘high’.

Therapeutic qualities

Health claims should not be made on alcoholic drinks above 1.2% ABV.  We would advise producers to avoid any claims about health or mood change.

References to the taste and quality of a product are likely to be acceptable under the Code and we would encourage producers to focus on these elements when making emotive statements. For the avoidance of doubt, suggestions that a drink can invoke feelings, directly caused by consumption of the product, for example ‘chill out’, or ‘unwind’, are likely to be problematic.

We do recognise that it may be necessary to inform consumers that a product contains CBD as an ingredient, but this must be done in a factual and ‘non-emotive’ way.  Any product which incorporates CBD into its marketing, such as the brand name, or product descriptor, is likely to breach the Code for suggesting an implicit health effect.

We also have further guidance on both of our Codes of Practice and wider industry trends. To see the full suite, click here.

If you have any questions about the guidance or would like an informal conversation about a product’s packaging or promotion, please email advice@portmangroup.org.uk with full details of your query.  We’ll get back to you within 48 hours, free of charge.

Portman Group responds to CAP and BCAP consultation on low-alcohol advertising

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) recently ran a consultation with the proposal to amend their rule which currently limits marketing claims for low-alcohol products.

The proposed amendment would allow marketers to promote low-alcohol drinks as part of their standard range.  Although the existing rule allows for low-alcohol and standard strength products in the same advert, it cannot suggest that the low strength version is a reason to prefer the low alcoholic drink.

We’ve submitted our response which you can read in full here.  We wanted to draw attention to the consultation as another positive step that is being made to support the innovation and growth of the low and no sector.  The growth of the category reflects the strong commitment from the industry to improve the range of options for consumers who want greater freedom of choice when looking to moderate their alcohol consumption.

Our Response and the Portman Group’s Code of Practice

We agree that removing this restriction would be beneficial for low-alcohol products to be advertised alongside standard strength drinks and thereby provide consumers with greater choice.

In our consultation response, we also encouraged CAP and BCAP to go further and align the amendment with the Portman Group’s strength rule in the Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks which allows for ‘lower’ strength category comparisons.

The rule effectively allows for two types of comparative claims to be made:

  1. Products which are below average strength (within category), or existing products which have been reformulated to below average strength, may make a virtue of their strength providing this is done in a manner which is proportionate to the product’s strength relative to the category average.
  2. Products of above average strength for a category can make factual statements about strength, or factual statements about the reduction in strength, following any reformulation.

The rule requires that the ‘lower’ strength must be emphasised proportionately when it is below the average strength for its category.  As an example, the average strength of beer is 4.4% ABV[1], any beer below this and above 1.2% ABV could be classified as ‘lower’, with more emphasis permitted for those products at 1.3% – 3.1% ABV.

To read our guidance on ‘lower’ strength products and comparative strength claims, please click here.

If you have any questions about our consultation response or would like an informal conversation about a product’s packaging or promotion, please email advice@portmangroup.org.uk with full details of your query.  We’ll aim to get back to you within 48 hours, free of charge.

[1] Public Health England, 2020

Community Support from the Horse & Jockey, Melling

During the pandemic, our beloved family-run pub The Horse & Jockey in Melling, Liverpool, became a community-run pub offering a vital lifeline to those who needed it most. Over the past year, we have convened 50 volunteers who have supplied food, emotional support and everyday helping hands to over 300 people. We are continuing to work hard to support the most vulnerable and wanted to share an insight into our hard work throughout the pandemic as well as highlight areas for additional support.

We have built a community which has produced flyers that have been sent to over 4,000 homes. The flyers highlight the local communication channels we’ve set up to enable our important work. We have specifically targeted those that the government identified to be most at risk of COVID-19 – the over-70s and clinically vulnerable. Many of the people who fall into these categories have been isolating and therefore unable to provide for themselves, as well as being at risk of severe loneliness. Our plan was to tackle these problems by providing continued and much needed support to those most-affected by the pandemic.

We worked with local businesses and the public to provide hot meals which are delivered to those in need every evening. We’re helping people to stay healthy by picking up their pharmacy prescriptions and delivering them to their door. Perhaps most crucially, we are combatting loneliness with our ‘listening ear’ initiative which sees our volunteers picking up the phone and giving a vital call to an ever-growing list of people. These calls are a chance to have a chat and brighten up the day of someone who is struggling through this challenging time.

Our group of 50 volunteers have supported over 300 people during the pandemic. We’ve used the pub to set up our Community Kitchen, which has allowed us to put over 15,000 meals on tables. Our JustGiving page, which has received almost £6,000 in donations to date, has allowed us to keep the Community Kitchen going throughout three lockdowns.

One of the key tasks throughout the pandemic has been responding and adapting to the various rules and regulations that have come into play during each lockdown, as well as the periods in between including the tier system and local lockdowns. The varying nature of each lockdown has meant that different issues have come to the fore across each lockdown. Through it all, the Community Kitchen has continued to support local families, with recent focus turning to ensuring school children didn’t go hungry during school holidays.

During the current lockdown, even as it winds down and we ease towards our own outdoor reopening, we are continuing to support our local community as we have throughout the pandemic while working with our network of volunteers to come up with new and innovative ways to provide support to those who need it most.

Support the Horse & Jockey

If you would like more information about the Horse & Jockey, visit their website: ​ mellingcommunityvolunteers.com

To donate to the Just Giving page, click here: Crowdfunding to Helping our local community Our focus is currently feeding the children in our community who need it most during the school holidays on JustGiving

Portman Group responds to PHE methodology consultation which may significantly lower estimates of alcohol-related deaths/admissions by around a quarter

The Portman Group has responded to Public Health England’s consultation on proposed updates to its use of alcohol-attributable fractions (AAFs) which impact how it calculates alcohol-related mortality and hospital admissions in England. An AAF denotes the proportion of disease cases which are estimated to have been caused by alcohol.

PHE has said updating its methodology to account for declining alcohol consumption across the population, as well as harmful drinking patterns such as binge drinking, would result in current estimates of alcohol-related deaths and admissions being lowered by around a quarter.

Implementing the new methodology would mean that:

  • Current estimated alcohol-related deaths across England would be lowered by around 5,700 – equating to around nearly a quarter (23%) of deaths currently included.
  • Estimated hospital admissions for alcohol-related conditions (under the narrow definition) in England would fall by around 83,000 – again equating to around a quarter (23%) of admissions currently included.
  • Estimated hospital admissions for alcohol-related conditions (under the broad definition) would fall by around 320,000 – equating to around 25% of admissions currently included.

As an evidence-led organisation, we are in favour of the proposed changes presented by PHE, as it is based on an updated evidence base in order to present a more accurate picture and takes into account over a decade of progress of tackling alcohol-related harm.

We believe this update is especially important as it will allow policymakers to make better informed decisions and help to more effectively target policies towards those drinking at the heaviest and most harmful rates.

Recognising positive behaviour

The Portman Group feels that it is important that PHE makes clear that it is changing its methodology to account for positive behaviour change amongst the general population, whilst also recognising the harm that alcohol misuse can cause to individuals remains unchanged.

We would strongly encourage that wider estimates of alcohol-related harm based on these calculations (i.e., previous PHE estimates on the economic cost of alcohol misuse) are also updated to reflect over a decade of progress in tackling harm.

This would take into account wider trends such as:

  • Close to a fall of a half (47%) in alcohol-related violent crime in England and Wales since 2009/10[i];
  • A 33% fall in drink driving accidents across Great Britain since 2009[ii];
  • Almost three quarters (73%) fall in the proportion of pupils who drink at least once a week from 2006 to 2014, which has remained at 6% under the new methodology since 2016[iii].

Public health authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should also follow PHE’s lead to update their own estimates of alcohol-related harm, to take account of declining trends in harm across the whole of the UK.

Lastly, we would be keen for PHE to provide clearer communication regarding its use of alcohol-attributable fractions for alcohol-related indictors to estimate harm and risk. These are important for the lay population to understand and there should be a thorough and comprehensible explanation to the public and policymakers regarding the updated figures compared to the current statistics, which PHE says “may misrepresent the potential burden of alcohol on mortality and hospital admissions (and other statistics related to these)”. This will enhance public trust in the validity of this data, which is often cited by policymakers when discussing alcohol issues.

Overall, this consultation is a welcome chance for the Government to take ownership of over a decade of progress in tackling alcohol misuse at update its estimates of harm, as the UK increasingly becomes a nation of moderate drinkers.

 

[i] ONS: Nature of crime: violence, September 2020

[ii] UK Department for Transport: Reported road casualties in Great Britain, provisional estimates involving illegal alcohol levels, 2019, February 2021

[iii] NHS Digital: Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England, August 2019

LOW AND NO VIRTUAL CONFERENCE 2021

On Tuesday, Portman Group CEO, Matt Lambert, gave a presentation at this year’s annual Low and No Conference. The conference is being held virtually this year and drew participants from across the sector to discuss the future of the low and no alcohol. The conference is of particular relevance after the incredible growth in sales of low and no products that took place in 2020; Nielsen data shows sales of low and no products grew 30%.

Matt gave an overview of the current regulatory landscape for low and no products. The Portman Group is currently celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Code of Practice delivering self-regulation inexpensively, responsively and effectively. In terms of low and no the Code only applies to products with an ABV of more than 0.5%. However, it does have reference to those products of this strength or lower which shares branding with an alcoholic beverage. In these cases, packaging must not have particular appeal to under-18s. Looking ahead we will be consulting on best practice guidance which will be published for products with an ABV of 0.5% and lower later this year. This should create greater clarity for producers who want to market their products within a responsible marketing framework.

Matt reminded producers that the Advertising Standards Authority’s CAP Code will apply to low and no advertising in general, but not the alcohol section. CAP is currently consulting on whether low alcohol products (1.2% ABV and below) can be marketed comparatively alongside higher strength alcohol products. Matt covered these details during his talk and encouraged everyone to respond to the consultation.

In terms of other work within low and no, Matt underscored the Group’s activity where in the last few months alone, we co-chaired a ministerial round table we convened on the topic with a keynote address from the Public Health Minister Jo Churchill. We also conducted our annual consumer survey on low and no drinks showing ever increasing consumer interest with two-thirds (62.5%) of UK adults having tried a low and no product.

While there have certainly been great strides in the popularity of low and no, there are barriers to be tackled that continue to surround the category. There are outdated myths about low and no products especially around the taste and social perception.

Additionally, research shows consumers are confused by the terminology surrounding such products. 75% were not familiar with the term ‘de-alcoholised’ supporting previous research by Portman Group (May 2018). It is time for greater clarity to be given to consumers on product descriptors and, in line with our previous consultation response, we believe that ‘alcohol-free’ should be used for products up to and including 0.5% ABV and for low alcohol to apply to drinks above 0.5% to 1.2%. We anticipate making this case when the planned government consultation opens later in the year.

Other

Speakers at the event included representatives from Big Drop Brewing, Budweiser, Lucky Saint and Stryyk. Key topics up for discussion ranged from brand launches to understanding low and no consumers.

Particular insights came from Laura Willoughby at ClubSoda, who highlighted the key findings from their latest research into consumer profiles of low and no consumers – showing that from ‘craft beer enthusiasts’ to ‘trendy mums’ there are many different journeys to trying low and no products.

Philip Coverdale from consulting firm Global Data also highlighted how low and no demand has been buoyed by a younger demographic interested in health and wellness trends and promoting lifestyle occasions on social platforms such as Instagram.

Brendan Williams of the Free Consultancy also said that the increasing quality of low and no products combined with producer efforts to raise awareness of quality taste profiles amongst older generations will help bridge the existing age gap towards low and no uptake.

We were delighted to be asked to speak at the Low and No Conference and continue to underscore the value of the category in our work. The conference was a valuable industry experience with all speakers offering strong insight.

The launch of the Responsible Regulation of Alcohol Seminar Series

Taking Responsibility – 22 April

As part of the celebrations of 25 years of the Portman Group Code of Practice we are launching the Taking Responsibility – Responsible Regulation of Alcohol seminar series. Over the course of the year, we want to take this opportunity to explore how alcohol is regulated, the key trends for the sector, and to provide greater transparency on the workings of the Code.

As such, we are hosting an inaugural event where we will be looking at the success of the self-regulatory model, reviewing the changes from the past three years as the Code was revised and embedded, and looking forward to likely changes in the regulatory landscape for 2021.

The event will take place on 22 April at 10am and last for approximately an hour. It will be held virtually via Zoom. We will have four key speakers, members of the Portman Group team who are eager to share their experiences of responsibility and regulation in the current landscape and beyond.

Speakers include:

Philip Rycroft CB – Chair of the Portman Group and former Permeant Secretary to the Department of Exiting the EU

Matt Lambert – CEO

Laura Demorais – Head of Regulation

Rebecca Oladipo – Advice and Training Manager

Following the main event, we will also host a Q&A session.

RSVP here

To secure your virtual ticket, please RSVP here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/taking-responsibility-responsible-regulation-of-alcohol-seminar-tickets-146566473267

Please note, spaces at the event are limited and, in the case of high demand, we reserve the right to prioritise the invited guest list. Should you miss out on a spot or be unable to attend, we will be sharing a blog post following the event covering all the key information.

 

Cooper King Distillery produced hand sanitiser in response to extreme shortage at the outbreak of the pandemic

Why Cooper King Distillery startedproducing hand sanitiser

At our York-based Distillery, business was booming, then COVID-19 hit. During the last week of March our sales plummeted, and 85% of revenue was lost overnight. We had a frantic 24 hours putting in place emergency finance plans, making calls to the bank, and insurers. This was followed by a number of enquiries from the public and key workers, highlighting the desperate need for hand sanitiser. A story of a distillery turning their hands to sanitiser production had emerged from the South of England; people wanted to know if Cooper King could do the same.

Recognising the national shortage of sanitiser, we knew we could step up and help. The ethos of Cooper King centres around environmental responsibilities, but, beyond this, social responsibility too.

Being a lean and agile company, we researched, developed, and produced the first batch of sanitiser in just five days, becoming the first distillery in Yorkshire to announce the production of hand sanitiser. This was a major undertaking. There was equipment to repurpose and materials to source, but we managed it and donated our entire first batch the following day to the local community and front-line staff.

The response on social media was incredible. It resulted in the distillery becoming inundated with requests for more product. Working through the figures helped us develop a strategy whereby sanitiser could be sold to the public and businesses, while the profits could be used to maintain a free supply to NHS, care homes and schools across the country.

In amongst the demand for more product, we have received heart-warming – and sometimes heart-wrenching – messages of thanks. Some of the organisations and people who have received donations include, hospital A&E departments, intensive care units, care homes, schools, the Royal Mail, mental health trusts, autism charities and even Mountain Rescue. In total, the distillery has donated sanitiser to 60 organisations. The impact on each organisation has been considerable – with one trust sharing that they would have had to turn away vulnerable patients if it wasn’t for the sanitiser we supplied to them.

Following our donations during the pandemic, we have been recommended for an Entrepreneurs Award by our local MP, Kevin Hollinrake.

Out of all of this, the message to take home is, there are a lot of positive stories out there of people doing good for their communities. The more these stories are shared, the more others will be inspired to help their communities during this turbulent time.

Donations List

  • Sutton-on-the-Forest Primary School
  • York A&E
  • St Leonard’s Hospice
  • Children’s Safeguarding Hambleton & Thirsk
  • Home Instead Senior Care York
  • Stillington Post Office
  • Mental Health & Vulnerable People’s Tea, for North Yorkshire
  • Leeds ICU Teaching Hospitals
  • Home Care Direct
  • Akari Care
  • Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team
  • Royal Mail Leeds
  • UK Maritime Pilots
  • Autism Plus
  • Easingwold caregroup
  • Peppermill Court Mental Health Hospital
  • Norton CP School
  • Housing 21 Home Health Care
  • Calder valley search and rescue team
  • Occupational Therapist (York)
  • Royal Mail, Tadcaster
  • Leeds Central Ambulance Station
  • Avante Care
  • Tees, esk and wear valleys NHS foundation trust
  • Home Instead Senior Care
  • Royal Mail – Alfreton
  • Wigton Community Volunteers
  • Local farmers
  • Prestwick Care
  • Centrepoint
  • Hadrian Healthcare Group
  • Supplies for Key Workers
  • Millfield surgery
  • First Responder
  • Chase Park Neuro Centre
  • Dementia Matters
  • Bluebird Care York
  • Friends of St Monica’s Hospital
  • Bradford NHS
  • The Supper Club
  • York Road Residential Care
  • Medicine deliveries
  • Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust
  • Longley Park View Nursing Home
  • York Community Therapy Team
  • Safehands Homecare
  • Longley Park View Nursing
  • The ExtraCare Charitable Trust
  • Mental Health and Vulnerable People’s Team for North Yorkshire
  • Balls to Cancer
  • Ambulance Wish Foundation
  • Hampers 4 Nurses
  • Community Staff Nurses (Newcastle under Lyme)
  • Tyne Housing Association
  • Wilberfocre Trust
  • Scarborough & Ryedale Mountain Rescue
  • North Yorkshire Police
  • Gateshead Council
  • Birchlands Care Home
  • Amarna House

About Cooper King Distillery

Cooper King Distillery is a self-built, crowd-funded whisky and gin distillery near York, producing sustainable spirits underpinned by craftsmanship, honesty and adventure.

Cooper King Distillery is England’s only self-built whisky and gin distillery, and one of only a handful in the country to run on 100% green energy. Producing the first gin in Europe with 1% for the Planet® accreditation, 1 square metre of English woodland is planted for every bottle of gin sold. To date, 10,000 square metres of native woodland have been planted with charity partner the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust.