From Cocktails to Clean Living: Local Distilleries Use Alcohol to Craft Hand Sanitizer

Three small Minnesota craft distilleries—Tattersall Distilling, Du Nord Craft Spirits, and Brother Justus Whiskey—have teamed up to create All Hands Minnesota. They’re taking the alcohol usually used to craft bespoke gin, vodka, and whiskey and making hand sanitizer instead, for nonprofits, healthcare organizations, and businesses working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Using alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a CDC-approved method of preventing the transmission of pathogens, including coronavirus,” writes the team on the All Hands Minnesota website. “Particularly important in settings where hand washing with soap and water is impractical or impossible, hand sanitizer plays a critical role in reducing the spread of coronavirus.” The group is also selling the custom, handcrafted hand sanitizer in Lunds and Byerlys grocery stores.

Norseman is another local distillery that’s switched to crafting hand sanitizer. “We’re donating all our house-made sanitizer (WHO approved recipe) to EDs, nursing facilities, fire stations, homeless shelters, and other first responder organizations,” Norseman says on its website.

It’s a relatively easy swap. Distilleries work with ethanol and can buy it in bulk. So the main ingredient needed to kill the coronavirus, a solution with at least 70- to 80-percent alcohol, is easy for them to come by. More difficult has been sourcing the bottles and sprayer caps that make applying the hand sanitizer easy and efficient. Other distilleries throughout the Midwest also making hand sanitizer include 11 Wells SpiritsLoon Liquor Co.Copperwing DistilleryJ. Carver Distillery, and Vikre Distillery in Duluth.

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