March 19, 2020
A Pennsylvania distillery is adjusting from making alcohol to producing hand sanitizer that will be sold for charity, as U.S. consumers trying to practice safety during the coronavirus pandemic face shortages of the essential product.
Eight Oaks Farm Distillery in New Tripoli, Lehigh County, announced this week it will cease production of its whiskey, rum, port and vodka products, instead producing hand sanitizer and cleaning products.
Founder Chad Butters said the family-owned distillery will not charge customers, but will accept donations for further hand-sanitizer production and charitable causes. All revenue above the cost of the distillery's new operations will go to the Farmer Veteran Coalition, Cancer Support Community of Greater Lehigh Valley and Tails of Valor.
"What's the right thing to do?" Butters told Time. "The right thing to do is support this community by providing something that is in desperate need. We'll flood the valley with hand sanitizer and drive that price right down."
Several other distilleries in the United States, including North Carolina's Durham Distillery and Vermont's Green Mountain Distillers, have taken similar actions to boost supplies of hand sanitizer. These products have been wiped out of stores and figure to be precious commodities for the foreseeable future.
Eight Oaks Farm Distillery said it is fulfilling high priority orders to start and will continue to keep the community updated as production ramps up.
"We're truly overwhelmed at the response, both locally and nationally," the distillery said on its Facebook page. "There are so many good people in this world – they are shining bright right now. We have been honestly moved to tears several times."