New Deal Distillery, Hood River Distillers, Thinking Tree Spirits, and Oregon Spirit Distillers distill hand sanitizer for first responders
OREGON – Several Oregon distilleries have found an important way to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 using a major ingredient in alcoholic beverages: ethanol. Not only is ethanol essential for the distilling of spirits, but it also effectively kills pathogens on skin and surfaces.
In mid-March, Trevor Douglass was asked if ethanol could be used to make hand sanitizer. Trevor is the Prescription Drug Program & Pharmacy Purchasing Director at the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). He knew COVID-19 was depleting hand sanitizer stock and something needed to be done.
Although he was unsure about processing ethanol, he knew who to call to learn more about it. Douglass collaborated with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, Business Oregon, and Moda Health Pharmacy to research and come up some best practices.
Best practices in hand, OHA partnered with four Oregon distilleries who were willing to make the approved hand sanitizer recipe: New Deal Distillery (Portland), Hood River Distillers (Hood River), Thinking Tree Spirits (Eugene) and Oregon Spirit Distillers (Bend).
These distilleries are now producing a combined 15-18,000 gallons of hand sanitizer each week. They expect to increase to 20,000 gallons over the next six weeks. OHA distributes the hand sanitizer to front line healthcare workers and food service industries throughout Oregon.