Local distilleries make the switch to produce hand sanitizer

Quaker City Mercantile

In the midst of this pandemic, many businesses are making shifts and altering their services to help flatten the curve and slow down the spread of this virus. Whether it’s switching to virtual services, coming up with solutions to help with social distancing or just figuring out how to keep employees paid, many establishments are getting creative—including local distilleries.

To help with the current crisis, there are a slew of local distilleries stepping up to make batches of hand sanitizer for both the public and organizations who so desperately need it, including two of the biggest makers of booze in the state, Faber and Jacquin’s.

According to a release, Jacquin’s and Faber Liquors, joined forces with the spirit savants at Quaker City Mercantile and Art in the Age to produce 120,000 bottles of Faber Hand Sanitizer daily.

“Everyone on the frontlines fighting this virus or supporting other life-sustaining activities is in desperate need of hand sanitizer and we didn’t hesitate in changing course,” said Ashleigh Baldwin, a spokesperson for Faber Spirits in the release. “The national brands are unable to meet the demand and by comparison, Tito’s Vodka announced they are making 20 tons of sanitizer where we are producing 80 tons in a single shift and we execute three shifts a day. This would not be possible without Philadelphia’s oldest and largest distillery, Jacquin’s, who donated a huge amount of their ethanol which has become almost impossible to get!”

The sanitizer will be packaged in Faber’s traditional spirits bottles and are being distributed in bulk to area hospitals, police departments, fire departments, various National mail carriers and more as well as to the public exclusively through Philadelphia retailer, Art in the Age. The 1-liter glass bottles being offered to the public through Art in the Age’s official website are available for $8 and will be sold while supplies last (high-risk organizations will get priority.) Any high-risk business or organization seeking distribution can reach out to [email protected]gooddesigninc.com for inquires as well.


According to the release, the nominal cost for consumer purchase helps subsidize the cost of production and allows Faber to cover production costs during this uncertain time, which has also allowed Faber to keep its entire workforce on and even hire workers for additional shifts. More information is available now on their new site, fabersanitizer.com.

Bluebird Distilling has also thrown their hat into the hand sanitizer ring, and while they are not offering the product to the public yet (however they are still supplying Philadelphians with plenty of drinking alcohol online with free Philly delivery for orders over $100), they are helping those risking their lives every day on the front lines in hospitals by offering sanitizer in bulk (inquiries can be made through [email protected]bluebirddistilling.com).

Tamworth Distilling is also helping any way they can by offering 95% of their production to the Tamworth Community Nurse Association and offering their sanitizer to the public through Art in the Age’s website as well.

Local establishment Boardroom Spirits has been offering hand sanitizer to the public for free for the past few weeks, but recently switched to selling in bulk after being able to secure more materials and scale up their production. Boardroom is now packaging sanitizer in variations of 5-gallon pails, 55-gallon drums or 270-gallon totes. Any organization can reach out to Boardroom Spirits to inquire about receiving the product at a reduced rate.

New Liberty Distillery and Revivalists Gin have also taken their own part to help produce the vital product.

“As President of the Pennsylvania Distillers Guild, this hand sanitizer effort is a statewide mobilization being coordinated to do our part in this crisis. Currently, we are working with state and federal representatives, senators, the Governor’s Office, PLCB, TTB, etc. for a statewide coordinated effort to cut the red tape, and put 100,000 bottles of hand sanitizer into the public’s hands in the coming days, with targets of one million bottles within seven to ten days. We are currently taking stock from all 130 plus distilleries in the state on the amount of 95% ethanol they have on-site, as well as the daily capacity we can use until the situation is resolved. We are pooling together all of our liquid resources, and initially focusing them to a few points of manufacture around the state where we will be bottling the ethanol-based (World Health Organization Formula #1) hand sanitizer. From there, we are coordinating a distribution plan with the PA Department of Health on appropriate distribution centers, starting with hospitals. This will be rolled out as an initiative with many participating partner distilleries across the state. This is a massive lift, but by pulling together as an industry, we believe we can have an impact on the fight against the coronavirus and safety of everyone,” said New Liberty Distillery’s co-founder, Robert Cassell in the release.

Revivalists Gin sent out a similar statement and will be producing sanitizer for healthcare professionals on the frontlines, including doctors, nurses, first responders and paramedics in their 5,000 square foot first-floor facility.

Don and Scott Avellino from Revivalist GinProvided

The production of hand sanitizer through distilleries was made possible by the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau), and the PCLB, (which is in charge of alcohol taxation within PA) who both, according to the release, told producers last week that they would get out of their way and not tax spirit producers for this type of production during this crisis, as long as the approved distilleries were following the recipe of the World Health Organization.