With the growing need for PPE (personal protective equipment) and sanitizing liquid on the rise through the COVID-19 pandemic, the unprecedented demand is creating a rare opportunity for companies to make the dramatic pivot to shift production to a completely new product line. One of the most obvious and immediate needs is around hand sanitizer, which over 600 Distilleries across America are now manufacturing by using the ethanol produced for whiskey and converting it to battle bacteria, according to the Distilled Spirits Council

“Early in this process, a couple of our guys were joking around and saying, ‘hey we could sanitize with this stuff!’ But after we saw that Durham was doing it, I realized that it wasn’t a joke. We could do this,” says Leah Howard, Brand Manager at Cultivated Cocktails, formerly H&H Distillery.

Hand sanitizer from Cultivated Cocktails

With some research and help, the team made their own small-batch sanitizer from a few totes of base grain neutral spirit. “Essentially we have totally pivoted almost all of our production from spirits to sanitizer. This isn’t something we would normally do, we’ve never made sanitizer before. But we started it as let’s see what we can do, how much we can make, and where we can do it. And from there it just blew up, I currently have a waiting list of 98 orders, from individuals to organizations, asking for single bottles to 30 gallons” explained Howard.

Recently, the Board of Directors for Dogwood Health Trust approved the allocation of $10 million to address COVID-19 needs throughout the counties of Western North Carolina. The funds are aimed at projects which support the goal of “flattening the curve” in the COVID-19 epidemic across the region, including the production of materials like hand sanitizer. 

As part of the fund, Dogwood has partnered with Cultivated Cocktails and Southeastern Container Inc. to produce and bottle hand sanitizer. Since the launch of the project, they have been able to deliver 30,000 22oz bottles of sanitizing liquid to the frontlines of the pandemic, with another 26,000 in the works.

“This is really humbling and eye opening, and we are just happy to be able to help. I would have never thought that what we do here could potentially flatten the curve with the COVID-19 pandemic. This was the last thing on my mind and our whole team is humbled to continue to work, be all hands on deck, and see how many lives we are helping,” says Howard.
Those who want to submit a request for sanitizer or connect with the team can find out more at https://www.hhdistillery.com/