LITCHFIELD — The owners of the Litchfield Distillery said they would never have envisioned that they would be forsaking their spirits production and working overtime with a small crew to provide hand sanitizer, which they are giving away for free. Co-owner Jack Baker said, “We started production on Monday, March 16th. Our decision to do it was purely driven by the shortage in the marketplace.” At that point, the distillery shifted much of its operation from manufacturing spirits to producing hand sanitizer as a way to help local businesses and high-risk individuals disinfect hands and surfaces.

The ABV (alcohol by volume) is 80 percent, he said, and the formulation follows World Health Organization guidelines. Baker said the process of making the alcohol is the same, whether for their craft bourbons and vodkas or for hand sanitizer. “There’s a term called ‘making cuts’ in the distillery world. The ‘heads and tails’ portion of the distillate are unsuitable for making or consuming spirits, so this unused portion is what we are using for the sanitizer,” he said. “The sanitizer is only available at Litchfield Distillery, 569 Bantam Road in Litchfield, and we’re donating it. We have given away over 1,000 bottles at this time.”

“Serving our community is something we take very seriously,” said Baker. “We felt obligated to step up and help people in need. In addition to helping people working on the front lines, such as healthcare professionals and police officers, bottles are getting in the hands of the most vulnerable. We’ve gotten a lot of requests from folks who are undergoing cancer treatment, have immune-function issues, or are recovering from surgery,” continued Baker. “We’re glad to be able to help people that really need a clean environment. We hope the extra sanitizer makes a difference. We are grateful to everybody who has been donating bottles, hydrogen peroxide, food and more. We’ve had hundreds, if not thousands of people stop by so far.”

Litchfield Distillery requests that those interested in obtaining a bottle of hand sanitizer follow their Facebook or Instagram pages for up-to-date information about product availability. Their sanitizer is only available for pick up at Litchfield Distillery, 569 Bantam Rd. in Litchfield.

Another distillery getting involved is year-old Sono 1420 American Distillers, 19 Day Street in South Norwalk, who specialize in “hemped whiskey.” Owner Ted Dumbauld said they made their first batch of hand sanitizer on Sunday, March 16, when they realized there was a shortage of sanitizer and they had most of the elements on hand. Consulting a formula recommended by the World Health Organization, they did testing with vodka and gin for 80 percent alcohol content, producing five gallons in the first batch. When they received much-needed bottles, they filled them with the sanitizer and donated them to the local Fire Department, homeless shelters and Meals on Wheels.

Dumbauld said, “We received 1,500 bottles and more on order. I don’t know how long we can continue with this but we are giving out two bottles to everyone in need, and if they return the bottle, we will refill it for as long as we have product. We are motivated to continue since we hear many stories from seniors coming to us in tears because they couldn’t get sanitizer anywhere. We are continuing to make vodka and gin in the distillery as well. We had to cut back on staff a little but are paying our workers on a part-time basis to do this.”

Find out more at www.sono1420.com/, or call 203 635-2100.

Fifth State Distillery in Bridgeport is producing a 65 percent alcohol-based hand wash with their gin botanicals. Owner Robert Schulten was an early manufacturer of this liquid hand-washing gin (yes, it can also be consumed.) Their hand wash, according to their website, is made with 130 proof alcohol. The price is $35 per 750ml bottle and a limited supply is currently available. Those wishing to make a purchase can call ahead 203-258-3422 for curbside service. Contact bridget@fifthstatedistillery.com. They are located at 259 Asylum Street in Bridgeport.

Connecticut Media Group