FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Members of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association have produced and donated nearly 125,000 gallons of hand sanitizer across the Commonwealth to frontline workers, hospitals and healthcare facilities, the association announced Wednesday.
In the last few weeks, KDA distillers – from the largest to the smallest – retooled their facilities, sourced necessary supplies, battled regulatory and tax hurdles, and began donating sanitizer by priority requests made through the KDA’s portal at www.kyhandsanitizer.com.
To put the amount into perspective, KDA President Eric Gregory said 125,000 gallons of hand sanitizer would equal more than 630,000 “fifths” of whiskey, or 750ml bottles as they are labeled.
And more is on the way, Gregory said.
“Our distillers have a rich history of stepping up in times of need to support our country and our Commonwealth, most notably by producing industrial alcohol to safeguard our nation in times of war,” he said. “This is a different kind of war with people’s lives and livelihoods at stake.
“Without being asked, KDA members immediately shifted from producing the world’s best whiskey to hard-to-find hand sanitizer for our hospitals, EMS and first responders, nursing homes, hospice, police, foster care centers and other priority needs.
“That’s what a signature industry does — and why our distilleries are going to keep producing sanitizer to ensure that the needs of Kentucky and our country are met during this unprecedented and uncertain time,” Gregory stated.
KDA member distillers producing and donating sanitizer include:
• Wilderness Trail, Danville
• Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., Bardstown and Louisville
• Wild Turkey, Lawrenceburg
• Alltech, Lexington and Pikeville
• Brown-Forman, Louisville and Versailles
• Beam Suntory, Clermont and Loretto
• Neeley Family Distillery, Sparta
• Kentucky Artisan Distillery, Crestwood
• Michter’s, Louisville
• Louisville Distilling Co., Louisville
• MB Roland Distillery, Pembroke
• Boundary Oak Distillery, Elizabethtown
• New Riff Distillery, Newport
• Rabbit Hole Distillery, Louisville
• Hartfield & Co., Paris
• Jeptha Creed Distillery, Shelbyville
• Casey Jones Distillery, Hopkinsville
• Old Pogue Distillery, Maysville
• James E. Pepper Distillery, Lexington
• O.Z. Tyler Distillery, Owensboro
• Dueling Grounds Distillery, Franklin
• Bluegrass Distillers, Lexington
• AMBRABev, Danville
• B. Bird Distillery, Augusta
• Barrel House Distillery, Lexington
• Second Sight Spirits, Ludlow
• Preservation Distillery, Bardstown
Gregory said distillers are able to produce sanitizer because the main ingredient is alcohol, and that KDA members are following Food and Drug Administration guidelines for production and labeling that are consistent with the World Health Organization sanitizer formulation.
Some distillers even began production knowing the product could face expensive federal excise taxes, Gregory said.
Congress eventually provided temporary relief for the tax burden as part of its Coronavirus Relief Package, but the FDA has not provided flexibility in its guidance to allow distillers torecognize this tax relief while also making hand sanitizer in an efficient and effective manner.