Haines, Alaska (KINY) - Port Chilkoot Distillery in Haines has temporarily shifted production focus from making whiskey to making hand sanitizer in response to the spread of COVID-19.
The distillery is usually busy this time of year finishing up production of small-batch whiskey and preparing for the summer influx of seasonal residents and visitors to the tasting room.
The team at the distillery quickly shifted focus when a need arose to immediately provide hand sanitizing solution to the community in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus that is beginning to threaten the Alaskan population.
“It just made sense for us to do what we can to keep our community safe and healthy,” says Heather Shade, co-owner of Port Chilkoot Distillery. “Our whole staff quickly stepped in to get the hand sanitizer produced and bottled. It gives us a great sense of purpose to be able to contribute in this way.”
Community distilleries around the country are stepping up to provide hand sanitizer in places where it is now difficult to access. Distilleries produce high-proof ethanol that is the key sanitizing ingredient in hand rubs.
The federal regulatory agencies that oversee distilleries, the TTB and the FDA, have quickly provided all distillers with guidelines to adhere to while they shift their production lines to making hand sanitizer.
“We are mandated to use a specific formula issued by the World Health Organization and approved for use by the FDA and is denatured to make it not suitable for consumption,” says Heather. The finished product has a more liquid feel than the gel brands consumers may be used to using, but it is proven highly effective. The recommended use is to apply a small amount of liquid to the palms and thoroughly spread on both hands; rub until dry.
Port Chilkoot Distillery is making 2 oz. bottles of the hand sanitizer available for all community members. There is a recommended donation of $2 per 2 oz. bottle to help cover the costs.
Individual bottles will be available for pickup at Olerud’s Market Center, Howser's IGA, the Outfitter Liquor Store, Mountain Market & Café, and the Alaskan Liquor Store. They will also be distributed and delivered to individuals in need through local community organizations.
Larger quantities will be provided directly to service workers, community organizations and volunteers, and to other businesses and government agencies as needed. We ask that you do not stop by the distillery to get hand sanitizer. We have a closed production space for staff only.
You may call the distillery with inquiries regarding pick-up locations for individuals or securing larger quantities for essential businesses, government agencies and community organizations.