“I had a choice: I could sit back and say there’s nothing more I can do, or I could come up with an idea.” Dean says.

When the Coronavirus Pandemic shut down Dean Grant’s pub, he immediately moved to offer delivery of his craft beer, but it wasn’t enough to keep all his staff employed.

Dean, who was adamant he would keep his business running, and staff employed, had the genius idea of switching production from beer to hand sanitiser, but this shift proved more difficult than he had ever imagined it would be.

Dean is founder and managing director of Urban Alley Brewery, an independent craft brewery based in Melbourne’s Docklands district, which he runs with his business partner, Bruce Davey.

“I talked to my head brewer and we came up with a formula, but you could not buy ingredients. We decided to use our own hop oil, but we still had to source ethanol.”

“And then I found you could not buy bottles. You could not get caps. You couldn’t get pumps. With everything shut down, it was nearly impossible.”

“The whole thing nearly fell over three times a day, every day, but we kept just solving each problem as it came up.”

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Dean’s Urban Alley liquid hand sanitiser was first to market, followed by a gel product. And, it wasn’t long before Dean and his team were pumping out 135,000 bottles a week from two factories, creating 100 new jobs across the supply chain!

Dean also says that now has the process running so well that it’s likely to continue even when demand slows after Coronavirus.

Looking to the future, Dean has some more big plans.

Dean has some strong contracts lined up, from a supermarket deal to government orders. He’s also working on pump packs, commercial sized bottles and touchless sanitation stations – a venture which has provided yet more jobs.

Thanks to his partnership with CommBank, Dean was able to pivot his business to not only survive the challenging times, but to thrive during them.

“There’s no other way I could have done it.”

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