An Iowa distillery is putting beverage alcohol production on hold to respond to a more pressing concern: the shortage of hand sanitizer.
Mississippi River Distilling Company in LeClaire has plans to convert its distillery into a hand sanitizer production facility as a response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We all want to be doing what we can,” said Mississippi River Distilling Company Owner Ryan Burchett on Thursday, March 19. “This idea of making hand sanitizer was one that we just didn’t see as feasible because we didn’t have enough alcohol around that wouldn’t be subject to the huge beverage alcohol taxes. But that changed yesterday.”
Mississippi River Distilling Company says the federal government is making changes to allow distilleries to denature beverage alcohol in order to convert it to hand sanitizer.
“This allows us to make the product at a price that is reasonable for the end users,” said Burchett.
The distillery discovered an immediate need of sanitizing liquid for health care systems and government entities, which they plan to fulfill first.
“At this point, we are responding with bulk production of 250 or more gallons at a time,” said Burchett. “We are trying to fulfill the institutional need first and foremost. The biggest challenge is the packaging, so we will be doing bulk orders immediately as we explore the best way to package smaller quantities.”
Mississippi River Distilling Company is asking businesses and institutions in need of bulk sanitizer to contact them soon to get on the list for orders.
“We’re working right now to source the necessary additional ingredients as quickly as possible,” said Burchett. “The sooner we can get a bead on what the needs are, the quicker we can respond.”
“This is a rapidly developing situation, and a work in progress. We’re confident that we will be up and running with enough product to get it to main street soon as well,” said Burchett. “We just ask for a little patience as we get this off the runway.”
Bulk sanitizing liquid orders can be placed by contacting the Mississippi River Distilling Company’s direct line at 563-484-4342.