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Whisky Advocate: Distillers Making Hand Sanitizer Face Shortages Of Key Supplies

March 23, 2020

As the whisky industry rallies to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including by suspending tours and closing visitor centers, distilleries small and large are firing up their stills to contribute a crucial resource—hand sanitizer—to healthcare workers, first responders, and communities in need. Some craft distillers are even giving it away for free, while Pernod Ricard—which owns several U.S. craft distilleries, including Smooth Ambler and Rabbit Hole—and several other major distillers are shifting production to make hand sanitizer or ethyl alcohol for use in hospitals and other medical purposes.

And importantly, they can now do so with less red tape. On March 19 the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) waived the requirement for distilled spirits permit holders to obtain authorization prior to producing hand sanitizer, or ethanol for use in hand sanitizer, allowing more distilleries to swiftly respond to the crisis using their equipment. Yet they’re still facing challenges in other ways, as some struggle to obtain the materials they need (other than alcohol), such as glycerol and proper bottles and packaging. Whisky Advocate has the full story.

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