Montana is in dire need of some medical supplies, including alcohol-based hand sanitizer. With hospitals depleted of certain supplies, like masks, gowns, and face shields, we are in a vulnerable position nationally. In response to this global and local shortage, twelve of Montana’s craft distilleries have answered the call and are moving to manufacture hand sanitizer for their communities. Despite the high demand for hand sanitizer, many of these distilleries are giving away a portion of what they produce for free. These actions will impact hundreds of thousands of people in Montana by establishing safer work environments and showcasing the innovations that can arise from a collaborative industry in the face of COVID-19.
“We at Dry Hills Distillery are working hard to keep our production facility in full force, producing spirits not only for our products, but [for] other distilleries so they can also generate sanitization products within their own communities,” said Erica Droge, VP of Dry Hills Distillery and Secretary/Treasurer for The Montana Distiller’s Guild. “The Montana Distillers Guild has been working as a co-op to share information and resources amongst each other to help our local communities.”
The FDA has required distilleries follow the World Health Organization’s hand sanitizer recipe for localized production to ensure quality control. The recipe requires three key ingredients: alcohol, glycerol, and hydrogen peroxide. During this global shortage, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which regulates the alcohol industry, has allowed distilleries to immediately produce and distribute sanitizer without gaining authorization first.
The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center recently released a resource page for businesses in search of assistance or interested in producing items of critical need. Manufacturers from all industries are pivoting their product lines to make medical-grade masks, gowns, face shields, and alcohol-based sanitizers. Montana continues to show the strength of community as we collaborate and innovate in our greatest time of need.
“Most of the distilleries are planning on donating and/or selling some of the sanitizer with priorities going to the local hospitals, health departments and first responders as they are working the front line through this pandemic,”explains Erica Droge. “This is a hard time for us all and the most important thing that we can do is come together as a strong network of hard-working individuals, to help out our local communities and our nation.”
Montana Distillers and Brewers currently in the process of producing hand sanitizer include:
Bozeman Spirits, Dry Hills Distillery, Glacier Distillery, Gulch Distillers, Headframe Spirits, Montgomery Distillery, Spotted Bear Distillery, Trailhead Spirits, Westslope Distillery, Whistling Andy, Wild Rye Spirits, Willie’s Distillery, Dean’s Zesty Booch, Philipsburg Brewing, Bridger Brewing