John Watlings jumpstarts production of hand sanitizer

John Watlings jumpstarts production of hand sanitizer
John Watling’s Distillery.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — John Watling’s Distillery Ltd. has switched gears to produce a hand-sanitizer for The Bahamas.

Globally over 600 spirit manufacturers are now making hand-sanitizer to combat the global pandemic.

The super-premium spirits manufacturer is located at the 1789 Buena Vista Estate in Downtown Nassau.

“We see it as a war effort,” said Jose Portuondo, co-founder of John Watling’s Distillery.

Portuondo said: “We are lucky to have an inventory of Ethyl alcohol to fight against this virus. For John Watling’s Distillery, there was no question in doing our part. Like the rest of our industry, we shifted our business to meet the needs of our community and those on the front line.”

John Watling’s Distillery, Ltd. was “designated as an ‘Essential Service’ to facilitate the start-up, manufacture, bottling, and distribution of Bahamian made ‘Hand Sanitizer’”, by the Ministry of Health on the 13th of April 2020. The Company will manufacture Bahamian-made hand-sanitizer according to World Health Organization (WHO) standards.

Portuondo continued: “…this does not mean we have stopped making our JOHN WATLING’S rums, RED TURTLE vodka and GUN CAY rums, it just means we have an additional priority.”

While handwashing for a minimum of 20 seconds is the best way to limit the spread of COVID19, the use of hand-sanitizers is recommended when hand washing is not possible. The WHO recommends hand-sanitizers contain at least 70 percent alcohol to combat the spread of COVID-19. In addition to alcohol from John Watling’s Distillery, hydrogen peroxide was sourced locally through Eugene Cartwright, 8oz. or 275ml bottles through A.R.M. Bottling & Supplies, also a local supplier.

“What has become obvious is The Bahamas needs to become more independent,” said Pepin Argamasilla, co-founder of John Watling’s Distillery.

“While most ingredients were found on island, glycerine was difficult to find. We are actively seeking local glycerine producers.”

Jose Portuondo thanked work completed by Bahamas Customs and Tropix Shipping for delivering the glycerine imported from the United States to John Watling’s Distillery in record time.

Further recognition and thanks in assisting with this project go to Robert Carron, Craig Symonette, Rupert Roberts Jr., Suzanne Pattusch (Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association), Bryan Russell, Andrew Mcfall, Margot Barnett, Christopher Lightbourn, Alex Paine, Esther Neilly, Lil Sam, and the dedicated production staff from John Watling’s Distillery.

The Bahamian and international shareholders of John Watling’s Distillery along with its 26 employees will be donating the first 500 bottles to Princess Margaret Hospital to keep medical workers safe from this virus; 250 bottles to the Department of Social Services for distribution to facilities housing the elderly and 250 bottles to The Office Of The Prime Minister.

Distribution to grocery stores, pharmacies, clinics, and hospitals will be coordinated through Bahamas Medical & Surgical Supplies Limited, located at 159 Shirley Street, Nassau, N.P., Bahamas or through 242-328-5057 |


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