Cambodian rum distillery puts hand sanitiser on the menu

With the price of hand sanitiser skyrocketing since the pandemic, Phnom Penh’s Samai Distillery has thought outside the box to help the local community by producing affordable bottles of cleansing alcohol using leftovers from rum production.

Nestled in the heart of Phnom Penh’s fashionable Tonle Bassac area sits Samai Distillery. Wooden barrels pile high at Cambodia’s first rum distillery, which since 2014 has made three different types of the liquor based on local flavours. But as of 2020, in response to a rapidly evolving global situation, Samai has added a fourth type of alcohol to its production line: hand sanitiser.

If you’d told Samai’s co-founder and director Antonio López de Haro that the current alcohol of choice would be sanitiser, he’d likely not have believed you.

“Our goal for 2020 was to expand our production capacity significantly,” Antonio, co-founder and director of Samai Distillery, explained to Southeast Asia Globe. “We’ve been receiving requests for our rum from around the world and our priority is to increase our production capacity to answer those demands.”

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