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BROVO Spirits distillers Connor Frederickson and Mac Kenney measuring alcohol levels (Image courtesy of BROVO Spirits).

WA distilleries convert operations, begin producing hand sanitizer

We interrupt your daily deluge of coronavirus information for a dose of silver lining.

As the need for key items like ventilators, gloves, and hand sanitizer increase - state and local agencies, as well as healthcare facilities are reaching out for help. One of the places they're looking? Distilleries.

Earlier this week the Trade and Tariff Bureau (TTB) gave distilleries approval to begin production of hand sanitizer, and the Washington Distillers Guild reached out to small distilleries in the state to step up and take care of the nurses and the doctors at the front line of caring for our communities in crisis.

26 distilleries in the guild have stepped up and done just that; quickly switched gears to learn to make and produce thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer to supply the health care chain.

Pure ingenuity.

“I’m proud to represent the small distilleries of the state who have stepped in to change their production and meet this urgent need, “ said Mhairi Voelsgen, founder of broVo Spirits and president of the Washington Distillers Guild. “Distilleries have had to learn new processes and buy new equipment to be able to do this, and it represents a significant commitment to their communities. We’re making thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer to keep our nurses and doctors safer.”

Distilleries are well suited to do this as there is a significant amount of chemistry in making spirits.

"While moonshiners may be popular, most of us work more like scientists, measuring alcohol among other things," said Voelsgen. "Fermentation and distillation is pretty technical."

The distillers are already FDA licensed, which is a requirement. They're also located all around the state, in municipalities where health care providers are.

Two sizes are being created: one-liter bottles and five gallon buckets.

"We're part of the solution to make sure our hospitals health care providers have what they need to fight this virus. We're all in this together," said Voelsgen.

Do you or someone you know work for a healthcare or critical services provider, and need hand sanitizer? Share this post around, and call 206-496-2613 or email if you need supply.

Stay healthy, friends.