While you can't use the company's vodka as a sanitizer to combat the rapidly spreading virus, the company is finalizing a formula that adheres to "industry and governmental guidance" to produce its own handmade hand sanitizer, the company announced across its social media platforms Monday.
The move mimics other distillers who have begun using their spirits to help fill the shortage of the gooey, alcohol-based disinfectants. Fear of the virus pushed consumers to stock up on the germ-killing gel, leaving store shelves empty and online retailers with sky-high prices set by those trying to profit on the rush.
"Last week, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) announced they are authorizing production of ethanol-based hand sanitizers by permitted distillers," the company wrote on Facebook. "Currently, we are testing our formula, procuring necessary components of supplies and packaging, and preparing for production as we wait for the additional required ingredients to be delivered to the distillery."
Once the formula is created, the company plans to initially produce 24 tons during the next several weeks, which they will hand out for free. The company plans to produce more as needed following the initial batch.
Additionally, the company has already committed $2 million to organizations that are providing assistance to those affected by the current pandemic, specifically organizations focused on those in the service industry: CORE, USBG Foundation, Southern Smoke, and World Central Kitchen.
Beyond the humanitarian impulses of individual distillers, the liquor industry also has a vested interest in seeing the virus threat dissipate quickly, given its economic reliance on bars, restaurants and other hospitality and entertainment venues that have been closed by the outbreak.
To date, the disease has infected more than 354,000 people worldwide and over 15,400 have died due to the outbreak, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.