Sri Lankan brewery switches to water

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sri lanka, Bottles

The World Health Organisation has warned that the death toll of the
Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster could double if disease is allowed to
spread. Clean drinking water is amoung the most important supplies
necessary to prevent further loss of life.

In Sri Lanka, sea water has contaminated an estimated 1,000 drinking wells around the country's East coast.

The Lion Brewery in Columbo normally produces 160,000 bottles of beer a day. This came to a halt on the 28th Dec when the urgent need for water became apparent. The company quickly summoned workers and executives to the bottling plant.

The company explained that the whole plant had to be cleaned and the beer remaining in the system had to be purged. The undesirable brown colour of the bottles was also addressed. "We made an urgent request to get white glass bottles and they are now coming,"​ said senior company executive Naufar Rahim on Saturday.

The brewery has also ensured that bottles are not labelled as beer. "We needed every hand because the packing of the water bottles had to be done manually,"​ said Rahim. If the system is run mechanically, the Lion Lager label is pasted onto the bottles.

The brewery is working overtime to meet its initial 120,000 bottle contract.

More than three quarters of the island's coastline was devastated by the natural disaster. The next challenge will inevitably be how to transport bottles to areas where the road, rail and air infrastructure cannot support shipping.

According to the WHO, tanker trucks and water-purifying tablets will also need to be supplied.

Related topics: R&D, Soft Drinks & Water

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