US distillers work together to supply hand sanitizer on mass: 'We are in this together'

By Beth Newhart

- Last updated on GMT

“This is not only the right thing to do for their communities, but it also allows some of these craft distilleries to keep their stills going." Pic: Getty/LeMusique
“This is not only the right thing to do for their communities, but it also allows some of these craft distilleries to keep their stills going." Pic: Getty/LeMusique

Related tags Distilled beverage coronavirus COVID-19 Alcohol Donation spirits

Spirits companies around the world are donating alcohol and production facilities to make hand sanitizer. In the US, the Distilled Spirits Council of the US is streamlining efforts in a dedicated portal to connect suppliers, producers and medical professionals.

With sanitizer in unprecendented demand to fight the coronavirus crisis, the alcohol industry is stepping in​ to meet demand, from spirits giants such as Bacardi, Diageo​ and Pernod Ricard to small independent distilleries.

For proper and effective hand sanitizer, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US recommends a homemade recipe of two parts isopropyl alcohol to one part aloe vera gel. The end solution should contain at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol.

Some distilleries are producing it in-house​, like 58 Gin in London, who have completely converted their facilities to focus on sanitizer production. Others are donating their alcohol for it to be used in production elsewhere.

And while many are simply donating the end product for use in hospitals and other frontline professions, some smaller companies are selling the sanitizer commercially and donating the profits to relief efforts.

Connecting producers with distributors

In the US, DSCUS has set up a website​ dedicated to the movement and tracking the availability of the new sanitizers. The group says hundreds of distillers in the US are now using their equipment to produce sanitizer, and these distillers are encouraged to add their names to the online portal, as well as distillers who need help with ingredients or distribution.

The portal hopes to connect distillers wanting to make hand sanitizer with those who can provide ingredients like bottles and labels, and companies that can help distribute sanitizer.

“This is not only the right thing to do for their communities, but it also allows some of these craft distilleries to keep their stills going, maintain their employees and stay afloat during this crisis,” ​said Chris Swonger, president and CEO of DSCUS.

“Further, we are coordinating closely with the federal COVID-19 task force as part of the nation’s collective efforts to fight COVID-19.”

The portal sorts companies into those producing sanitizer, those that need supplies, and those that need distribution help. Organizations and individuals looking for donations of sanitizer or to purchase can also search the site and contact distilleries directly.

DSCUS said the construction of the site is in partnership with Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, Consumer Brands Association, American Bakers Association, Food Industry Association, and the Global Cold Chain Alliance.

“To the distillers who are working hard to produce hand sanitizer for their communities, thank you. To the first responders, medical professionals, grocery store employees, delivery men and women, truck drivers, and warehouse employees who continue to keep America moving, thank you. We’ll be stronger when this is behind us. Until then, we are #DistillersUnited4ACause,”​ DSCUS said.

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1 comment

Distribution warehouse team available in Atlanta

Posted by David McWilliams,

For any of you who are small distillers transitioning into hand sanitizer, my company , normally involved in apparel screenprinting is idled due to COVID19 as well. We have ten people experienced in shipping and logistics with two shipping docks, forklift etc and 30 years experience in domestic and international logistics including customs documentation. If you would prefer to concentrate on production and leave logistics to us, or just need some increased firepower please contact me.
Stay well ,

David McWilliams

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