Now that the coronavirus has become a bleak reality for all of us, folks are scrambling to get their hands on hand sanitizer like the bottles were Furby toys in 1999.
With a nationwide shortage of hand sanitizer, a distillery in Kailua, HI, has taken to repurposing their facility in an effort to help produce more anti-bacterial gel for mass consumption during these strenuous times.
Oahu-based Ko'olau Distillery made the decision to pivot production and begin manufacturing hand sanitizer for critical services. The distillery has the capability to legally distill alcohol and is now aiming their production towards producing the base that's needed for hand sanitizer — which will be provided free of charge to first responders, health workers, and essential personnel during these trying times.
Ko'olau Distillery is best known for producing Old Pali Road, a high-quality whiskey that's been rated one fo the top 15 best craft whiskeys you can get for under $60 in the US.
CEO of the distillery Eric Dill said in a statement, “We realized that we are in the unique position to be able to help our community in this way; we are able to both make Old Pali Road whiskey AND produce hand sanitizer that meets WHO standards so that we can help our greater ‘ohana' through this unprecedented situation." Dill believes that a product will be ready as early as March 25.
Ko'olau drew inspiration from other distilleries in the US who are doing the same during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Texas-based distillery Bendt Distilling Co. in Lewisville, Texas, has also shifted gears from creating their flagship Bendt No. 5 American Blended Whiskey and is producing free hand sanitizer for their employees, customers, local law enforcement, first responses, Meals on Wheels volunteers, and nearby businesses.