By Jennifer Farnsworth
With the coronavirus pandemic gripping the nation, using hand sanitizer is one of the strong recommendation of health agencies around the globe.
To help bolster supplies locally, some businesses have turned completely away from their normal mission and are making sanitizer.
Springbrook Hollow Farm Distillery in Queensbury is one, since distilleries have the necessary equipment to transition to sanitizer, which has a high percentage of alcohol.
Since the state ordered the temporary closure of bars and restaurants last month, owner Matt Colucci is responding to the need for sanitizer.
“We are more than happy to get to work. Essential businesses who have to stay open need it for their employees, so we are working hard to try and help make that happen,” said Colucci. The distillery was about to lay staff off until the government asked distilleries to stay open to produce the desperately needed product.
Colucci said SheetLabels in Queensbury is donating the labels and Burch Bottle and Packaging in Waterford is providing the bottles.
SheetLabels Chief Executive Officer Adam Gray said they have been at work producing the labels needed by various local distilleries in order to prepare product for distribution.
“It has been a great opportunity for us to get to work and help the community, “ said Gray.
At Upstate Distilling Co., in Saratoga Springs, owner Ryen VanHall said as a result of their recent move, their distillery was not operational at this point, however VanHall plans to be joining the effort.
“I’ll be going down to Yankee Distillers and assisting them with their production,” said VanHall. The Clifton Park distiller is another involved in the hand sanitizer production effort.
Yankee Distillery in Clifton Park has also created a hand sanitizer. It is available for purchase 64 oz. refill bottles. Yankee Distillers will also allow customers to fill any container they bring in for 50 cents per ounce from a sealed tank in the tasting room, according to said Matthew Jager, co-founder and distiller.
Purchases are limited to 64 oz. per household or one gallon per business for the first batch as Yankee Distillers continues to source and produce raw materials for the next batch.
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VanHall said Upstate Distilling is also selling off their on-hand inventory of whiskey and cocktails, donating 50 percent of the proceeds to local charities.
At Lake George Distillery in Fort Ann, owner Robin McDougall has his company responding to the call for help.
“We decided we wanted to do something for our community in this time of need and we knew we had the ability to make the product. Once the federal government and the state government relaxed the rules that were required to make it and provided us with the World Health Organization’s formula for the product, we decided to begin,” said McDougall.
He said they outsourced the products needed to produce the sanitizer, glycerin and hydrogen peroxide, then started making 1,000 bottles to hand out to our community.
They also received aid from SheetLabels.
“SheetsLabels very generously donated 1,000 labels to our cause,” said McDougall.
Springbrook has set up an online fundraiser to offset costs and allow them to distribute free sanitizers to the public. The GoFundMe page is at www.gofundme.com/f/free-hand-sanitizer?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet.