A GIN firm has put its alcohol to another use to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Brighton Gin’s award-winning tipple is already popular across the city.

But its latest product is not for drinking.

Founder Kathy Caton is working with Lewes cosmetics company A.S Apothecary to produce hand sanitiser using the distillery’s ethanol supply.

“We’re giving them a very strongly-distilled ethanol we would normally use for gin,” Kathy said.

“It’s 70 per cent alcohol so you definitely wouldn’t want to drink it.

“We were working with A.S Apothecary before coronavirus came along and fundamentally altered the world we live in.

“It’s a sign of the times that this is the one thing we’ve been able to produce together.”

“Usually to make hand sanitiser you have to add two ingredients to the alcohol to make it undrinkable,” A.S Apothecary founder Amanda Saurin said.

“But these can make it quite harsh on the skin.

“Instead we’ve added rosemary, mint, and lavender essential oils and some glycerine to make it easier on the skin.”

As hand sanitiser sales rise Amanda warned people to be careful with what they buy.

“Everybody and their mum is making hand sanitiser now, and people don’t really know how to ensure it’s safe,” she said.

“I’ve seen hand sanitisers with 95 per cent alcohol which will damage your skin.

“Seventy per cent alcohol content is usually the optimum amount.

“You need to make sure hand sanitiser has been cosmetic safety tested too.”

Brighton Gin will make no money from sanitiser sales and will provide bottles to those isolated by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re going to be offering deliveries with welfare checks so we know people in isolation are doing okay,” founder Kathy said.

“It’s absolutely nuts and I’ve never experienced something like this in my life.

“So we want to do everything we can.”

As “social distancing” measures hit Brighton’s hospitality industry hard, Kathy said she felt sorry for pubs and restaurants in the city.

But the spirit firm has felt the impact of the pandemic in a different way.

“Our production manager Jude, who’s also my mum, is 76 so unfortunately she has to stay at home,” Kathy said.

“But she’s been learning how to make videos online.

“Today she’s done an exercise video using Brighton Gin bottles as weights.

“Jane Fonda, eat your heart out.”

Jude’s workout video, set to The Killers’ hit song Human, ends in her opening a well-deserved bottle of gin.

She hopes to make more videos while she isolates at home.

The news comes as the competition watchdog said it had already contacted traders over excessive pricing of hand sanitiser.

Competition and Markets Authority chief executive Andrea Coscelli urged retailers to behave responsibly.

“Our taskforce is monitoring market developments,” he said.