Vermont’s distilleries are well known for their award-winning spirits, but as the state fights the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re switching gears and producing hand sanitizer instead. Smugglers’ Notch Distillery is one of those distilleries, saying they appreciate the chance to help.
Jeremy Elliott, owner of Smugglers’ Notch Distillery, is also the president of the Distilled Spirits Council of Vermont. He says the Council has been holding emergency planning calls with member distillers since the early days of the state’s pandemic response. “We’re all working together. We’ve opened up supply lines to make sure we can get hand sanitizer to first responders and the people who have to be on the front lines.”
Mad River Distillers, based in Waitsfield, is giving away its sanitizer for free to local businesses and dispensing it to people who bring their own containers. They’re following the World Health Organization’s recipe for effective sanitizer – 60% alcohol, in a glycerin base.
It’s keeping staff on payroll and supplying sanitizer to essential workers and the general public.
When owner Ryan Christiansen started hearing reports of COVID-19’s spread, Caledonia Spirits made a small batch of hand sanitizer as a team workshop, but soon was making larger batches to sell to state agencies and give to healthcare workers on the frontlines.
Now, they’re working with Stonecutter Spirits to form a collective to cover costs and meet a statewide need for sanitizer as the pandemic continues.
Morristown’s Green Mountain Distillers was among the first to begin hand sanitizer production, allowing restaurants and community members to take what they need for free outside the distillery’s doors.
Now, they’re serving the local domestic violence shelter, essential workers and the VFW, too.
Be sure to check out this video of Vermont’s craft spirits scene, for a look at how these businesses thrive, when they aren’t helping the state respond to COVID-19.