In the face of the unprecedented global upheaval due to the Coronavirus, José Class, Bacardi’s Vice President of Operations, knew his company had to pitch in.
“When I was presented with this challenge, I didn’t have a doubt about doing this and I knew that we were going to support it,” he says of his brand’s recent mobilization. “This is a responsible company and industry. We step up when we are needed.”
Bacardi is one of many distilleries nationwide who are focusing their facilities on aiding in the creation of hand sanitizer. A main tool in the arsenal to fight against Coronavirus, the germ killing liquid has long been missing from the shelves and warehouses due to increased demand. As a result, the liquor industry has stepped in to fill that gap. “I think it was two weeks ago when we saw how things were going across the globe,” says Class.
An idea was hatched. Since hand sanitizer mostly consists of alcohol (the CDC recommends a minimum of 60 percent), it’s an ingredient Bacardi has in copious amounts. Working in tandem with the Olein Recovery Corp., they dove into the task. “This is the fastest launch of a product at Bacardi I’ve ever done,” says Class. Today, Bacardi is creating alcohol for sanitizing production at eight of their distilleries to produce hand sanitizer, in all producing 1.1 million liters for donation, as well as donating 3 million dollars in aid to the restaurant and bar industry.
It’s not just companies like Bacardi stepping up. Across North America and beyond, a multitude of distilleries are shifting their focus to public health and safety with the production of sanitizer. British Columbia’s Empress 1908 Gin, New Jersey’s Claremont Distillery and Pennsylvania’s Eight Oaks Distillery are aiding in the production of sanitizer, as is Rochester New York’s Black Button Distillery, Fort Worth’s Blackland Distillery and California’s Endless West.
Maryland’s Sagamore Spirits is producing 54,000 liters of hand sanitizer for The Johns Hopkins Hospital alone, while Ron Barcelo is donating 32,000 liters of alcohol for sanitizer in the Dominican Republic.
In Brooklyn, New York, the New York Distilling Company is using their undiluted Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin to produce hand sanitizer, complete with gin-like notes of juniper berries, citrus peels, and spices to boot. “The local demand (here in Brooklyn) for hand sanitizer, even just for first responders, is astounding,” says co-founder Allen Katz. “We decided if we could produce hand sanitizer safely we would pursue the possibility.”
A blend of high proof alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and glycerin, New York Distilling has entirely shut down operations in order to make sanitizer. So far, Katz is frank about the demand. “We have received over 100 calls from more than 30 states from institutions like fire and police departments, hospitals and nursing homes, as well as hoards of individuals.”
Meanwhile, down in Austin, Texas, Desert Door Distillery has also shifted a large majority of their resources to making sanitizer. Founded by military veterans Ryan Campbell, Judson Kauffman, and Brent Looby, it was an easy decision.
“The three of us have never watched from the sidelines in our lives and we are not going to start now,” says Campbell, who notes that not only does the product benefit the public at large, it also keeps the company running at a time when layoffs are commonplace. “I’m not sure if any of us anticipated how many organizations in our area were in need, but we know it is our social and moral responsibility to keep producing the hand sanitizer until there is no longer a need.” For Desert Door, their mission was bolstered by cocktail syrup company Liber & Co, who donated 1,000 bottles.
Tim Harrington, a Partner both at Kennebunkport Resort Collection and Batson River Distillery, is frank about their mission to create sanitizer and fight to help not only his laid off employees but the public at large. “We knew we had to get creative, not just to help support our Kennebunkport Collection Family that had been laid off, but to use our resources to help keep our community strong and safe.”
Ole Smoky Distillery, makers of award-winning moonshine and whiskey located in East Tennessee is first distributing its hand sanitizer in 5-gallon commercial-grade pails to the local police and sheriff departments, as well as first responders.
Ole Smoky has also begun production of smaller 50ml jars of hand sanitizer. These will be distributed first to Ole Smoky employees and their families. As production increases, the company also intends to offer them to consumers when they utilize the internet ordering and distillery pickup option, which begins this week at their Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge Distilleries.
To order online, CLICK HERE.
For weeks, Pernod Ricard USA supports its workers and communities producing hand sanitizers and will have donated more than 10,000 gallons of hand sanitizers made across three facilities, with the majority going to New York and the rest sent to New Jersey and to meet urgent local needs in the communities surrounding its facilities. Pernod Ricard USA also sent a new shipment of hand sanitizers delivered to the NYPD and is expected to produce an additional 12,350 gallons of hand sanitizers from four facilities to be donated as well.