CHICAGO — Hand sanitizer is largely sold out at retailers across the country as people and medical professionals look for ways to keep themselves healthy and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The shortage in alcohol-based hand sanitizer has prompted beverages companies to step up in a time of need.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an emergency allowance that allowed distillery owners to make hand sanitizer, and many have responded.
Click through to see which liquor and beer manufacturers are doing to help provide hospitals, police and local governments with hand sanitizer amid the spread of COVID-19 …
BuzzBallz LLC/Southern Champion CEO and Founder Merrilee Kick on March 20 adjusted operations from solely cocktail production to the creation of hand sanitizer. The company is donating the sanitizer to healthcare facilities, local governments and retail personnel in Texas.
BuzzBallz aims to produce 10,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, which has an estimated value of $150,000, according to the company.
BuzzBallz/Southern Champion LLC, Carrollton, Texas, is a woman-owned, family-operated distillery and winery. It creates premixed cocktails and small-batch spirits.
Molson Coors Beverage Co.
Molson Coors Beverage Co.’s craft breweries are stepping up to make hand sanitizer amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Companies the Chicago-based beverage company agreed to purchase this year that are helping fill the sanitizer void include Vikre Distillery, Duluth, Minn.; Spirit Hound Distillers, Lyons, Colo.; Copper Bottom Craft Distillery, Holly Hill, Fla.; and Atwater Brewery, Detroit.
"Craft brewers were built beer by beer in their hometowns, and they are all about community," said Paul Verdu, vice president of Tenth and Blake, Molson Coors' U.S. craft arm. "Doing the right thing to lift up our communities, including our retailer and distributor partners, to lend a hand to the very people who helped establish these businesses isn't a heavy lift for our craft brewers because that's who they are as people and that's what their businesses are all about."
Other brewers making sanitizer include Leinenkugel’s, which provided 165 barrels of bulk beer to the neighboring Chippewa River Distillery in Wisconsin for use in the manufacturing of hand sanitizer, and Revolver Brewing, which is also working with a nearby distillery to convert bulk beer into hand sanitizer.
Rogue Ales & Spirits
Rogue Ales & Spirits is producing hand sanitizer at its Newport, Ore., distillery to donate to local emergency response and public safety officials. The beer, spirits and canned cocktails maker has donated to fire departments, county offices, police offices and local ambulance services.
“There's a massive shortage of so many life-saving supplies right now and we wanted to do something to help,” said Brian Pribyl, head distiller of Rogue Ales & Spirits. “As a distillery, we make alcohol every day, so a hand sanitizer was an obvious way to help. It has been amazing to watch the entire distilling community come together during this crisis.”
Tennessee distilleries are working together to pivot operations from making whiskey to repurposing the alcohol for hand sanitizer and surface cleaners.
Kris Tatum, president of Nashville-based Tennessee Distillers Guild, said the local distillers saw a need in their communities and are on a mission to make a difference. The sanitizing products will be delivered to large transportation companies, municipalities and healthcare facilities across Tennessee.
"We're trying to help government entities including fire departments, police stations, physician offices and other businesses that are the heartbeat of our state and still on the front lines serving the public and keeping the economy going," said Greg Eidam, head distiller at Sugarlands Distilling Company in Gatlinburg, Tenn.
The Tennessee Distillers Guild is a membership organization that consists of 32 Tennessee distilleries and associate members.
Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, is producing and distributing bottles of hand sanitizer, which will be used at Red Cross blood donation centers and to support emergency shelters for future relief efforts.
“COVID-19 has changed how we all live our lives, but it hasn’t changed Anheuser-Busch’s priorities and our commitments as an employer, a business partner and a corporate citizen,” said Michel Doukeris, CEO of Anheuser-Busch U.S. “While we can’t solve this crisis on our own, we are proud to do what we can to serve and support our communities in need and the heroes on the front lines, using our capabilities, our relationships and our reach to do our part. We invite other companies to use their unique capabilities to join us in this effort, however they can, so that together we can make a difference.”
Koval Distillery, Chicago, had raised more than $56,000 as of April 1 to help fund its hand sanitizer-making efforts.
The company, known for its organic and kosher whiskeys, gins and specialty spirits, will focus its efforts on providing hand sanitizer in bulk to the medical community, retirement homes and those on the front lines of the war against COVID-19, according to a post on its GoFundMe page.
CH Distillery, Chicago, known for its vodka and as the maker of Jeppson’s Malort, is producing Malort Hand Sanitizer to donate to healthcare and first-responder organizations.
Healthcare facilities that want to request a donation can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tito’s Handmade Vodka
Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Austin, Texas, has ramped up production of hand sanitizer to give to those in need. The company is starting with an initial 24 tons and will make more as needed, according to its website.
Tito’s said it is actively working with local government emergency management agencies to distribute its hand sanitizer batches in bulk to first responders and managed care facilities. Those in need can fill out a form on Tito’s website to request hand sanitizer.