Breweries and distilleries all across America are raising our spirits by shifting their production to something in desperately short supply — hand sanitizer.
Gripped by the spreading coronavirus pandemic, companies small and large are coming together to provide Americans with what they need to stay healthy.
Anheuser-Busch, which has been manufacturing beer for 165 years, is now planning to produce hand sanitizer from its Van Nuys and Baldwinsville facilities in New York. The St. Louis-based company will be working with Red Cross to send the supplies where they are most needed.
Local breweries and distilleries are also pitching in. Here’s a list of a few:
Silverback Distillery in Nelson County, Virginia
Silverback is owned by Christine Riggleman and her husband, Denver, a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Fermenting right now, it’s a corn mash from a local farmer in Nelson County,” Riggleman explained to WDBJ-TV. “We’re going to turn this into our hand sanitizer alcohol.”
“We’re in the same boat that everybody else is,” she added. “But I have a skill set and the equipment that our family business can help, so shame on me if we didn’t step up to the plate when there is a need.”
Kings County Distillery in Brooklyn
Usually, CEO Colin Spoelman’s distillery is making whiskey, bourbon, and moonshine. But these days, he is in the hand sanitizer business — a process that’s a little more difficult for Kings County than it would be for a distillery making vodka or gin.
“It started out a bit tongue-and-cheek a while back, but then last week it became much more serious,” Spoelman told AMNY, noting most of the requests he’s fielding are coming from hospitals and clinics in desperate need of supplies.
“If that service is needed, then we will try to do it,” he said. “If someone gets a cough, or their roommate gets a cough, they are off for 14 days. We only allow three people on the floor of the distillery at a time, and we are happy to keep people working.”
Hotel Tango Distillery in Indianapolis
To help fight the coronavirus, veteran-owned Hotel Tango is adding a 68% ethyl alcohol-based hand sanitizer to its lineup of products. This week, they’ve produced more than 4,000 bottles.
The company has donated the new product to homeless shelters, nursing homes, local delivery stations, fire stations, as well as the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, which received 30 gallons of hand sanitizer.
“Since we already have facilities and equipment geared toward producing high-proof alcohol, which is a common cleaning and anti-bacterial agent, it feels like we have a duty to help wherever we can,” CEO and founder Travis Barnes told USA Today.
Westland Distillery in Seattle, Washington
This week, the Seattle-based Westland Distillery shifted all its production and employees to making hand sanitizer to help combat the novel coronavirus.
Washington state, it should be noted, was something of a ground zero in the U.S. for the coronavirus pandemic. Though there’s some evidence to suggest the number of new cases there is leveling off, Westland Distillery is doing its part to keep locals healthy.
“As of today, we are no longer a whiskey distillery,” said master distiller Matt Hofmann. “Westland Distillery is now dedicating itself to the production of hand sanitizer indefinitely, for as long as the community needs us, be that days, weeks, or months. We have received urgent requests from hospitals, community centers, and individuals. We all have a role to play.”
Hofmann said he believes Westland has the capacity to make between 200 and 250 gallons of hand sanitizer every day.