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Distilleries and Breweries Refocus Efforts to Make Hand Sanitizer

Distilleries and Breweries Refocus Efforts to Make Hand Sanitizer


With a hand sanitizer shortage, distilleries and breweries are answering the call

While everyone is retreating into their homes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, distilleries and breweries are stepping up to the call. The nationwide shortage of hand sanitizer has lead to breweries and distilleries across country to pivot from making booze to making hand sanitizer. Who knew alcohol could make such a difference? 

Why Distilleries and Breweries?

Recognizing the danger that a scarcity of hand sanitizer poses for front-line health workers, the FDA recently relaxed their rules regarding sanitizer production. Production can continue as long as the establishments follow the World Health Organization (WHO) recipes.

One of the key ingredients in the WHO recipe is 80% ethanol. Beer and other spirits can be distilled into ethanol, making distilleries and breweries uniquely suited to production. When combined with glycerin and hydrogen peroxide, hand sanitizer can be made.

As Austin Adamson from Ballmer Peak Distillery near Denver put it, “Probably doesn’t taste good, but it’ll kill anything on your hands.”

[Photo by Noah on Unsplash]

Working together to give back

Breweries without distilling capabilities are partnering with local distilleries and donating their excess craft beer. This speeds up the sanitizer production process by two weeks, getting sanitizer into the hands of first-responders even quicker.

Most distilleries are donating hand sanitizer to their local first-responders, hospitals and grocery stores first, with excess being available to the public.

These humble heroes claim they are just doing their part.

“Given the shortages that exist in the supply chain and our ability to [make sanitizer], we thought it was important that we did,” said Jeff Lindauer from Spring 44, a distillery outside of Denver in Loveland.

Spring 44 has supplied more than 6,000 bottles of their homemade sanitizer to first responders and essential businesses.

As tasting rooms and brewpubs are temporarily closed to the public, the shift to sanitizer production is keeping these local businesses afloat and employees at work, while providing a critical component in the fight against COVID-19.

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Where to get it

Distilleries and breweries across the country are joining the fight. From California to New York to Florida. Here are a few that have answered the call:

  • Ironton Distillery and Crafthouse, located in Denver, are now producing “Keep it Clean”, their FDA-compliant homemade hand sanitizer. A limited supply is available to the public for free at their Chestnut Place location from 3-7 p.m. daily. In lieu of payment, they are requesting a monetary or non-perishable food donation for the Food Bank of the Rockies.
  • Ballmer Peak Distillery, located in Lakewood, have distilled their rum and whiskey into homemade sanitizer. They are asking the public to bring their own bottles to house the sanitizer, which they are giving away for free from 12-5:30 p.m. daily. Any donations are appreciated, but not required. While you’re there, check out their Cocktails To-Go or Single Malt Whiskey for an evening at-home treat!
  • Catoctin Creek Distillery in Purcellville, Virginia, is supplying first-responders throughout Virginia with hand sanitizer. They are also selling additional hand sanitizer to the public.
  • In Saint Petersburg, Florida, 3 Daughters Brewing is donating their homemade sanitizer and getting creative. After running out of their small bottles, they have switched to using new sterile urine sample cups.
  • Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, from Milton, Delaware, has been supplying the state of Delaware with hand sanitizer and donating the proceeds to support local restaurant workers who have been laid off due to the pandemic.

More Artistic Fuel:

How to Eat Local During Quarantine

The Beautiful, Painstaking Side of Craft Cocktails

Rebuilding Restaurants: A Chef’s Call for (Sustainable) Action

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