The COVID-19 pandemic has brought global economies to its knees, with many grinding to a halt. It has crippled so many industries worldwide, particularly the food and beverage industry such as bars and restaurants, where millions of people around the world are now without a job, since bars have been forced to close their doors and restaurants have limited their businesses to pick-up services only. Most of the employees in these establishments have relied heavily on tips from customers to pay their bills to take care of their families. Their livelihood has now been uprooted by the outbreak of the coronavirus and it is anyone’s guess when normalcy will return. The food and beverage industry is an area that Angostura Holdings cares deeply about as it’s a sector that has continuously supported our business.
To the healthcare workers and all other first responders around the world, thank you for taking care of everyone in your respective countries, and risking your lives daily to ensure that the coronavirus does not spread. Our employees, customers, suppliers, partners and communities are suffering due to this pandemic. As a corporate citizen of Trinidad & Tobago we cannot sit by and watch those who have supported us suffer at the hands of this dreaded coronavirus. It is our responsibility to do what we can to fight this virus from taking over our country. One of the products desperately needed at this time is hand sanitiser and, we are able to produce pharmaceutical grade alcohol to make it.
Angostura has transformed its distilling capability to deliver all pharmaceutical demands while also producing 50,000 bottles of 375 ml and 20,000 bottles of 1.75 litres hand sanitiser to donate.
As at April 1, Angostura began distributing the hand sanitiser to public hospitals for healthcare workers, the Ministry of National Security for its first responders such as the Police Service, Defence Force, Prison Service in T&T, communities and other entities with direct public interaction. Our employees have been working tirelessly to ensure that we deliver the best quality of hand sanitiser. It comprises of 80% ethyl alcohol and small amounts of hydrogen peroxide and glycerin. It is made according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendations and formula. This is not the first time the Company has stepped in to give assistance to the nation. In fact, Angostura has a long history of supporting its communities, employees and partners, and this time around is no different.
CEO Peter Sandstrom says: “We felt it was crucial to manufacture and donate hand sanitiser for frontline healthcare workers and other first responders. These are workers who are putting their lives on the line to combat the spread of COVID-19. It is important to us that they are protected from this virus. We, at Angostura, appreciate their sacrifices and we salute them for their contribution.”
Sandstrom adds, “Angostura is a business built for people and by people. In times like these, it is essential, we deliver what the country needs. As an executive team, we took the decision to begin producing high-grade alcohol for sanitising liquids to ensure that we could support the nation’s fight against the coronavirus, by preventing the spread of the virus with the very effective and powerful hand sanitiser. At a time when our plant was down, we have made modifications to increase, as far as we can, our alcohol production capacity. The excess alcohol though limited, has been distributed for sale to those licensed to produce hand sanitisers. Angostura is here to support the nation and we are making every effort to do this.”
The company started a distillery upgrade back in December 2019, which is still underway and that has limited the amount of alcohol in our plant. Despite this, Mr. Sandstrom says, Angostura is committed to delivering what it takes to assist T&T.
To say these are uncertain times is an understatement. We don’t know what lies ahead, but what we do know is that Angostura Holdings will continue to play a role in fighting the spread of COVID-19 in T&T. As a global bitters and rum producer that has been around for over 195 years, know we will ride through this storm.
COVID-19 is having a severe impact on all businesses. The coronavirus hit our country in mid-March when the first positive case was detected. Since then the number of positive cases has been climbing and this has led to a shutdown of many businesses, leaving thousands of people without jobs. We at Angostura have been able to sustain our operations so that we can maintain all our employees at this time, but this is being done through strict and stringent safety measures to protect everyone. While we have secured our personnel, we are constantly reviewing our supply chains to maintain business continuity.
The Government of T&T has closed off all international borders, thereby restricting entry, social gatherings have been prohibited, and social distancing is being encouraged in a bid to safeguard citizens from the dreaded virus that has taken over many other countries. The Government also took a decision to allow only essential services to operate for a two-week period, to ensure the amount of people leaving their homes is limited so that the coronavirus does not continue to spread. Together, we can all fight this and regain control of our lives and our beloved country.