These Midwest Distilleries Find A New Use for Their Alcohol—Hand Sanitizer
Craft distilleries around the Midwest are stepping up to help with the nationwide shortage of hand sanitizer.
Mike and Matt Blaum are using their Galena, Illinois, business—Blaum Bros. Distilling Co.—to provide hand sanitizer at no charge to first responders and organizations in need.
While the distillery’s more typical output is vodka, bourbon and gin, the brothers wanted to pivot some of their production to help in the coronavirus pandemic.
“We feel like it’s our duty,” Matt Blaum told the Telegraph-Herald. “We are the only ones with the equipment and the high-proof alcohol that would allow us to do it.”
Requests for sanitizer can be made via their website. Blaum Bros. is also accepting donations to help with production costs.
Blaum Bros. is just one of a number of Midwest distilleries joining in the effort to alleviate a sanitizer shortage. To help curb the spread of coronavirus, health officials have been urging people to wash their hands, disinfect frequently touched surfaces and practice social distancing. Many stores have been unable to keep hand sanitizer in stock, and health care providers have found it hard to source as well. (For those of you at home: Washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds can be more effective at removing dirt, debris and germs than using sanitizer, but sanitizer comes in handy for times when soap and water aren't readily available.)
This Fairfax, Ohio, distiller lifts spirits with spray bottles of sanitizer. Profits from the 4-ounce bottles go directly to the craft distillery’s employees that are out of work.
The vineyard and distillery in Canton, Ohio, recently announced that it will use grain alcohol for hand sanitizer production. “Repurposing the distillery gives us a unique way to really help our community with something desperately needed during this crisis,” said General Manager Scott Swaldo.
One of the oldest craft distilleries in the United States is now producing hand sanitizing gel. The 8-ounce bottles are available to residents, businesses, and government officials in the Chelsea, Michigan, area.
Find locally crafted, lavender-scented hand sanitizer in Omaha. Over the next couple of weeks, the business hopes to produce 10,000 10-ounce bottles as well as smaller bottles. Donations are coordinated through a Go Fund Me page.
This distillery in Bloomington, Indiana, has already produced and donated nearly 5,000 gallons of hand sanitizer to police and fire departments, hospitals, postal workers and more—and expects to make 5,000 more gallons by early next week. They're still making gin, too! Although the tasting room is closed, customers can receive a free bottle of sanitizer with each carryout alcohol order.
The small-batch distillery in LeClaire, Iowa, is making gallon jugs of sanitizer to help meet the high demand. Health care systems take priority in orders, but the sanitizer will also be sold to the public on the company’s website.
These distilleries throughout Indiana are making hand sanitizer for local non-profits and charities in need. They are also selling bottles and accepting orders via e-mail.
The family-run distillery in Chicago (the city’s first distillery since Prohibition) is working to provide hand sanitizer to hospitals, nursing homes, and other groups. While the sanitizer is not yet offered to the public, you can show your support at their Go Fund Me page.
The family-owned Duluth, Minnesota, distillery has already given away more than 1,000 gallons of sanitizer to area individuals, businesses and organizations. They’re now working on obtaining the ingredients and packaging to make more. Donations are accepted.
In just four days, the Dodge City, Kansas, distillery took the sanitizer idea from concept to product. Boot Hill started by producing 2,500 4-ounce bottles and now anticipates making more than 30,000 bottles of sanitizer for the community. Visit their Go Fund Me page to donate.
After making 3,500 bottles of free hand sanitizer, the winery and distillery in Swisher, Iowa, is now selling the solution. Customers can purchase a gallon jug, 32-ounce squeeze bottle or a 5-gallon bucket on the company’s website.
The distillery in Thompsonville, Michigan, is producing about 500 gallons of sanitizer a week to fill orders from Manistee and Benzie County health organizations and nonprofits.
"We are grateful for local businesses adapting their production and processes to help fulfill the critical needs of our hospitals," said Mark Deponio, senior vice president of Munson Healthcare System Services. "Challenging times like these serve to remind us of how important it is to have strength in our communities."