I’m sure we are all thinking about how we could use a drink at the moment. Quite a lot of us are also thinking about how we could really use some hand sanitizer. If only one person could solve both those problems, well it would appear they can. Caledonia Spirits, a Vermont-based distillery have made the connection and started producing both products. Their head of marketing Harrison Kahn commented,
“It was the first thing that crossed our minds when we learned that there was a need among first responders, food pantries, and others. While we’re continuing to make gin, we’ve essentially turned our distillery into a hand sanitizer factory. We want to keep making it as long as there is a need.”
The company has no issue getting hold of alcohol, obviously. Their main holdback was acquiring glycerin. They are also struggling to source small bottles to keep the finished product in. Kahn added, “We’re inviting anyone who has any additional sourcing ideas to email us at email@example.com. We would love to hear from them. As a distillery, we’re making the alcohol, and we’re working as hard as we can to source as much glycerin and as many small bottles as possible.”
The tricky part for the company has been trying to work out how to distribute their new product safely. But also how to pay for the additional raw materials. Kahn commented, “while we continue to keep our entire staff, even those who are home, on payroll with full benefits.” Therefore the distillery is accepting donations at their website. You can purchase the product on their site too, but rather than receiving it, it is donated to a local healthcare facility.
Of course, the company aren’t normally in the hand sanitizer game. Usually, Caledonia Spirits are responsible for making Barr Hill Gin, Tom Cat Gin and Bar Hill Vodka. These products are available in the majority of US states. Each of their brands is made using locally sourced honey giving their spirits a slightly sweet flavour. The company is new to the Montpelier area having only moved there last year.
They are not alone in trying their hand at something new in this time of crisis. In nearby New England, Fabrizia Spirits are producing lemon-scented hand sanitiser having switched its focus from the production of limoncello and ready to drink cocktails. The first three thousand bottles of their new product were all donated to health care facilities. And the company has pledged to keep making donations as long as they keep producing their new product. However, the excess after donations will be sold at local supermarkets.
Phil Mastroianni, co-founder and owner, Fabrizia Spirits, said “Shifting our focus allows us to make a positive impact on the people who are on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. Producing our own hand sanitizer, which we are doing at cost, allows us to stay open and keep staff employed in an extremely uncertain time.”
A similar tack is being employed by distillery’s in Texas who are supplying law enforcers, local healthcare facilities and local businesses to aid the community. In addition to this big-name distillers, Bacardi are shifting their focus from their spirits to hand sanitizers. Meanwhile, Caledonia has committed to their new product for as long as needed stating,
“Given the need for hand sanitizer, we’re shipping it as soon as we make it. While we don’t have an exact tally, we just recently partnered with the State of Vermont to make 1,500 more units for first responders. We’re sourcing glycerin from local health and beauty manufacturers, as well as anywhere else we can find it.”