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How Can Distilleries Solve this Problem Together?

How Can Distilleries Solve this Problem Together?

Good Samaritanism motivates all. However, distilleries eager to produce disinfectants for their communities are running into obstacles that are challenging to tackle, especially alone.

For one, supply is extremely limited in many pockets of the nation. I had the pleasure of speaking to a few front-line distilleries today. The general consensus was that they produced as much as they could and donated what they could afford -- until the supply dried up.

To be specific, smaller distilleries face production issues that can’t be self-remedied. Their stills simply aren’t large enough to distill alcohol that meets the minimum standard percentage necessary for disinfectant

To work around this problem, they instead purchased ethanol in bulk from industry dealers such as MGP.  However, I learned today that MGP and many other dealers have run out, thus ending the supply chain for small distilleries. 

This is not the only supply issue distilleries face.  Both large and small distilleries have issues sourcing two other key ingredients guided by the FDA: glycerol and hydrogen peroxide. Some locations have a surplus; some have a deficit.

From a myriad of market research calls made by Disinfect Connect’s dedicated volunteer team, we can reasonably conclude that there is enough ethanol, glycerol, and hydrogen peroxide to distribute evenly among distilleries -- the catch is that there is a skewed concentration of these ingredients within each state. 

The problem is this: distilleries that have sufficient supply cannot give it to distilleries in need simply because they don’t know the problem exists for others.

Disinfect Connect exists to solve this issue.  By connecting distilleries via our database, distilleries can be put in touch with each other to share information regarding supply issues, distribution struggles, and production capabilities.

This will help even out the skewed concentration and ultimately help serve a greater number of at-risk populations while also reducing pressure on a handful of popular distilleries. A coordinated effort enables distilleries to better serve their communities with a more effective and proportional impact.

Last night, the TTB released yet another significant public guidance. The guidance essentially maintains its previous track of allowing the transfer, whether sale or donation, of distillery-produced disinfectant with an added benefit: The dramatic reduction of taxing expectations on distilleries that wish to transport their ethanol to vital facilities.

This benefit cannot be understated in importance. These facilities include “hospitals, blood banks, sanitariums, certain pathological laboratories, non-profit clinics, and qualifying educational institutions.” (Crawford

I’ve stated in previous articles that Disinfect Connect is not authorized to dispense legal advice, so please contact your compliance specialist to read the law for your own interpretation.

Given this development, I pose a suggestion that may help alleviate the supply problems distilleries face: increase trade. By re-activating the infrastructure of commerce between distilleries, supplies such as ethanol and glycerol can move from areas of high concentration to those with low concentrations.

In theory, this ‘spreading’ out of ingredients would allow distilleries to produce humble, yet sufficient amounts of sanitizer that can be forwarded to at-risk facilities -- which satisfies the end goal of both distillery and recipients.

Thank you for considering this facet of possibilities given new updates to the law, which ultimately helps to create solutions for all.

As always, Disinfect Connect will continue to update our community with relevant information regarding hand sanitizers and the impact we’re creating alongside you.


by Chris King / 3-28-20

Chris is an English Major at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He is dedicating his time and energy to support Disinfect Connect by writing blog posts and producing content. 


Crawford, Monique S. “TTB G 2020-1A.” TTB, TTB, 26 Mar. 2020, www.ttb.gov/public-guidance/ttb-pg-2020-1a.