The coronavirus pandemic has hit many sectors of the economy hard. A spirits producer in Rakvere producing ethanol for use in disinfectants, however, is currently working around the clock and has had to hire extra help.
The emergency situation in Estonia struck the owners of the distillery in Rakvere at a difficult time, as it had been decided last year to discontinue the production of spirits, or ethanol, in Rakvere as it had become unprofitable to produce rye spirits for the production of lower-end alcohol. Thus the decision had been made to focus on the production of fine liquor in Moe, and the plan was to relocate distillation equipment from Rakvere to Moe as well.
The spread of the coronavirus, however, saw changes to people's hygiene habits, and according to Estonian Spirit director Sven Ivanov, in just one week in March, the company sold off all of its stocks of spirits, which were meant to last through the end of the year as it relocated. Thus it was decided to temporarily restore spirits production in Rakvere.
"We are essentially still producing spirits, and we can't take the risk of doing so only for use in disinfectants, because otherwise it could happen that once the situation slowly starts to die down, our warehouse will be full and we won't be able to sell it to liquor producers, and we'll be faced with the question of what to do with it all," Ivanov explained. "We're trying to make the best stuff possible so we can sell it to as broad a customer base as possible."
In addition to Estonian Spirit producing disinfectants from its own spirits, the company also sells ethanol to other companies as well. While in April it was producing spirits for use just in Estonia, by this month it is also producing them for export as well. According to current plans, production in Rakvere will continue at least through summer.
"We will be producing through July 14 for sure, as all stocks through then have been sold already, but we may be working through Christmas," Ivanov said. "It depends on how stocks in Europe recover, because if stocks recover and prices start to fall again, we won't be competitive at the complexity with which we are currrently working in Rakvere."
The company has hired an additional ten employees on top of its existing 20.
Editor: Aili Vahtla