Tropical Brewery starts hand sanitizer production amid coronavirus pandemic

Local brewer Tropical Brewery and Winery has ventured into the production of natural hand sanitisers for the domestic market as demand for the product increases, amid the spread of the new coronavirus.  

A local entrepreneur, Nelly Aline Uwineza, who is also the founder of the brewery, told The New Times that she started the production of sanitisers to respond to the demand of the product.

“The idea came on March 8 when hand sanitizer products started becoming scarce on the market. This is when I took a decision to make a formulation (design) of a hand sanitizer that would be quite different from what’s already on the market,” she narrates.

Uwineza says it took her 48 hours to make a formulation of the “tropical hand sanitizer”, which is currently produced on a small scale at her Kigali-based brewery.

While the product follows the World Health Organisation’s guidelines for effective and safe sanitizer, Tropical Brewery and Winery’s blend features essential oil and aloe vera, making it a natural product as opposed to being a chemical product.

“I thought about making a natural product because chemical substances at times tend to cause allergy to some people’s skin,” she said.

A post-production analysis conducted by the National Quality Testing Laboratories Division of the Rwanda Standards Board (RSB) marked tropical hand sanitizer as a “good” product.

It was proven to kill microbes at 98.3 per cent rate.

Today, Uwineza’s hand sanitizer comes in different packages and sells at different prices. For instance, a 500 ml can retails for Rwf12,000 and Rwf9,500 for wholesale.

Tropical Brewery and Winery has a capacity to produce 400 litres per day, according to its founder, but the target is to produce up to 1,000 litres per day if raw materials are available.

That is a challenge because the price of raw materials has increased sharply following the outbreak.

“The price of alcohol has increased from Rwf35,000 per 20 litres to Rwf60,000 for the same quantity, while that of packaging materials hiked from Rwf800 to Rwf4,000,” she notes.

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