Kentucky Distillers' Association - Members Making 125,000 Gallons of Hand Sanitizer

Though the talk of opening up states in a post Covid-19 virus world is promising one thing is for sure the need for hand sanitizer is not going away for years to come. Although hard to find at retail locations hundreds of distilleries across the country have stepped in to fill the void by turning their distilled spirits operations into hand sanitizer making operations. For the most part no retooling was necessary except for being able to handle different bottle sizes and shapes. Distillers are stepping up and delivering at a critical time.

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association member distilleries have produced and donated nearly 125,000 gallons of desperately needed hand sanitizer across the Commonwealth to frontline workers, hospitals and healthcare facilities.

In the last few weeks some of the country’s oldest distilleries and newest startups have shifted gears, retooled their facilities, sourced necessary supplies, battled regulatory and tax hurdles, and began creating hand sanitizer. Much of it has been donated and some of it is for sale on the various distillers websites.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said, “These companies worked quickly and tirelessly to source the materials and manufacture this essential product for Kentuckians fighting on the front lines of this pandemic.

“I am grateful and proud to have the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and its members on Team Kentucky.”

Putting it in Perspective: 125,000 Gallons = 630,000 750ml Bottles of Spirits

To put the amount into perspective Association members have produced 125,000 gallons of hand sanitizer. To put that into terms a spirits fan can understand that is the equivalent of more than 630,000 “fifths” of whiskey, or 750ml bottles as they are labeled today with more on the way.

“Our distillers have a rich history of stepping up in times of need to support our country and our Commonwealth, most notably by producing industrial alcohol to safeguard our nation in times of war,” said President of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association Eric Gregory. “This is a different kind of war with people’s lives and livelihoods at stake.

“Without being asked, KDA members immediately shifted from producing the world’s best whiskey to hard-to-find hand sanitizer for our hospitals, EMS and first responders, nursing homes, hospice, police, foster care centers and other priority needs.”

“That’s what a signature industry does — and why our distilleries are going to keep producing sanitizer to ensure that the needs of Kentucky and our country are met during this unprecedented and uncertain time.”

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Kentucky Distillers’ Association member distillers producing and donating sanitizer include the names below.

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Gregory said distillers are able to produce sanitizer because the main ingredient is alcohol, and that members are following Food and Drug Administration guidelines for production and labeling that are consistent with the World Health Organization sanitizer formulation.

Congress has provided temporary relief for the tax burden as part of its Coronavirus Relief Package, but the FDA has not provided flexibility in its guidance to allow distillers to recognize this tax relief while also making hand sanitizer in an efficient and effective manner.

The KDA continues to work alongside the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, the American Craft Spirits Association and other industry partners to encourage action by the FDA so distillers can make more hand sanitizer and be eligible for tax relief.

Kentucky Distillers’ Association Board Chairwoman Jessica Pendergrass with Heaven Hill Brands commended KDA members for coming together across brand lines to support those on the frontlines battling this unprecedented global pandemic.

“Some of our members were producing hand sanitizer within a few days of being made aware of the need,” Pendergrass said. “Many Craft members were able to meet the immediate needs of their local communities while larger producers ramped up to fulfill state and regional requests.

“Producing over 125,000 gallons in a few weeks’ time took a tremendous, collaborative effort from all of our membership.”

Those in search of hand sanitizer can visit the association’s website which was created just for this pandemic. You can also visit individual website to learn more about purchasing hand sanitizer.

Full list of distilleries offering free hand sanitizer across the country is here.

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