An unlikely partnership between a budding Welsh distillery and international transport operator Keolis has seen thousands of litres of hand sanitiser made available to front line rail staff across Wales and the Borders.


Hensol Castle, which until late February were making plans for the opening of a visitors centre and Gin school in the cellars of its 17th century castle, saw the critical need for sanitiser as the Covid19 pandemic grew. Working quickly to re-purpose their distillery they set about producing highly effective hand sanitiser for industrial use – focusing on meeting the demands of key workers.


When Welsh based public transport operator Keolis UK got in touch to see if Hensol Castle could help meet the needs of its Transport for Wales Rail Services operation, who had been looking at ways of boosting their supply of Alcohol Gel Sanitiser, it soon became clear that it was a partnership which could make a real difference.


Nigel Stevens, Chief Operating Officer at Keolis UK said: “When we made the decision to move our national HQ to Wales, we did so with the very clear commitment to support the local economy here wherever possible.


“We’ve made good on this commitment, ensuring every facet of our office move was delivered locally and, through KeolisAmey Wales, marrying our international expertise with the very best products and services Welsh companies have to offer.


“I’ve a real sense of personal pride that we have been able to strike a partnership with this fantastic Welsh company in their efforts to support the country during a time of national crisis – providing an excellent product and service to both staff and passengers in the process.


“Our commitment to Wales is a long term one, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with Welsh companies of this nature as business transitions to some sense of ‘normal’.”


Simon Davies from Hensol Castle Distillery said:


“Once we saw the critical need in the NHS and elsewhere, we re-purposed our distillery to produce hand sanitiser & set out establishing a supply chain that could meet the urgent demand.


“Whilst the transition was a swift one, it wasn’t always easy to overcome many obstacles, particularly with the supply chain, with some suppliers looking to profiteer from an in-demand product. With the help of KeolisAmey Wales’ industry contacts and the support of the Welsh Government, however we have now established a robust supply chain and are delighted to help meet demand for key services at such a difficult time.


“Supply will continue for as long as we are needed to help support our frontline services.”


Leyton Powell, Safety and Assurance Director at KeolisAmey Wales added: “We at Transport for Wales Rail Services are so pleased to have secured and purchased these products from a local Welsh supplier – keeping business in Wales. The quality of the product and service we have received has been outstanding.


“It’s a partnership that has already seen us place a very large order of both 100ml pocket size bottles and 2.5 litre jerry cans as we continue to ensure our colleagues are protected.”