Local distilleries have started using their production facilities to make hand sanitizer


“If you were looking for a barometer of how bad the problem is, all you would need to do is check our voicemail.”

Dave Willis, co-founder and head distiller at Bully Boy Distillers, has been fielding calls from hospitals, hearth stations, and different organizations on the entrance strains of the coronavirus pandemic, after the Boston-based distillery started veering from its normal manufacturing of spirits to a far better necessity throughout this time: hand sanitizer.

“Hand sanitizer is 97 percent alcohol, so it made perfect sense that this is something we can do, because obviously we have no shortage of alcohol,” Willis mentioned. “If you’re looking for a way to help out, it sort of dovetails beautifully with what we’re doing.”

The coveted commodity has been one of the hoarded gadgets since information of the coronavirus pandemic emerged, as evidenced by the Tennessee man who hoarded greater than 17,000 bottles and is now being investigated for value gauging after donating his stash.

At Bully Boy, the hand sanitizer, which may be made utilizing alcohol, glycerol, and peroxide, received’t even be up on the market. Instead, Willis mentioned they are going to be donating it to those that are most in want, together with hospitals, homeless shelters, hearth stations, and others who’re on the entrance strains. The distillery’s first batch was made on Friday, and so they hope to begin distributing it subsequent week, with Boston Health Care for the Homeless already confirmed as a recipient. The sanitizer will likely be distributed in four-ounce bottles and, Willis mentioned, they’ll be making as a lot of the product as they will.

Bully Boy isn’t the one one to deal with this venture. The enterprise is on an e-mail chain with different native distilleries, together with Dirty Water Distillery, GrandTen Distilling, and Short Path Distillery, to coordinate efforts, present assist, and supply supplies for making hand sanitizer.

Everett-based Short Path wrapped up its first batch of hand sanitizer on Friday and plans on promoting it in two-ounce bottles on the distillery, in addition to distributing it in gallons to municipalities, hearth departments, and hospitals, most of that are within the Greater Boston Area.

We’re getting inundated with requests,” Short Path co-founder Jackson Hewlett mentioned. “So we’re trying to triage and see how much we can make, and how we can get it to the most amount of people and supply the people who really need it.”

Both distilleries have needed to juggle their hand sanitizer manufacturing efforts with the unstable threats that at the moment are going through their companies.

“We have had a very major slowdown [in spirits production],” Hewlett mentioned. “We’ve lost half of our accounts because restaurants and bars have shut down. Customers have been coming in to buy bottles to-go…but there’s also a lot of unknowns.”

While Bully Boy has additionally scaled down its manufacturing, Willis mentioned that making hand sanitizer has saved their workers busy and, effectively, employed.

“We won’t cut back until we really have to,” he mentioned, noting that he’s seen loads of “Armageddon liquor buying” happening proper now. “I do think we’re going to see a drop off next week — there was a lot of upfront bulk buying that took place last week. On premise, bars and restaurants are 30 percent of our business; obviously that’s just gone away. We want to keep a sense of normalcy as long as we can.”

He mentioned that regardless of shedding cash on the hand sanitizer venture, the distilleries which have all been engaged on this need to do as a lot for his or her communities as they will.

“A situation like this is a fascinating social experiment,” Willis mentioned. “In difficult times, people either do good things or they do bad things. It’s a litmus test for who you are as a person. When you think about pandemics, it’s like you’re either a ‘glass is half empty’ person and you assume that its going to be chaos in the streets and people are going to be looting and doing bad things, or you’re a ‘glass is half full’ person and you assume that people band together and are hopeful and helpful and do what they can. So far, at least, it seems like a glass is half full scenario, where people are helping each other out.”


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