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Comment COVID-19

Distilleries turn to emergency hand-sanitizer manufacture

By Dorothy Lozowski |

Distillery owners are using their resources to help address the ramped-up need for hand sanitizers due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many small distilleries across the U.S. are reportedly making  hand sanitizers using ethanol and distributing it either freely in their communities or at a reasonable cost to combat the scarcity that has occurred during this crisis.  The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TBB; www.ttb.gov) waived provisions of internal revenue law with regard to distilled spirits to provide certain authorizations to distilled spirits permittees to produce ethanol-based hand sanitizers during this emergency. And the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS; www.distilledspirits.org) is working with Congress to ease Federal excise taxes related to the use of undenatured alcohol.

In addition to the action of multiple small distilleries, one giant, Bacardi, has shifted its production of rum in Puerto Rico to help supply ethanol for hand sanitizer production. The Bacardi Corporation distillery in Cataño, Puerto Rico has partnered with Puerto Rico based manufacturer Olein Refinery to provide raw materials that will enable the production of more than 1.7 million units of 10-ounce hand sanitizer. At 70% alcohol, these products are in line with the recommendations by the World Health Organization for containing the spread of the virus.

 “This is a family-owned business and we know what it means to take care of a community in need,” says Jose Class, VP, Supply Chain & Manufacturing, for Bacardi Latin America and the Caribbean. “In the 158 years of Bacardi, we’ve endured our share of challenging times and have learned that resilience, optimism and community are what will help us come out stronger.”


Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

Distilled Spirits Council of the United States

The press release from Bacardi

 The New York Times

 NBC News

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