In the wake of COVID-19, hand sanitizer has recently become a highly-desirable and much-needed product as retail supplies dwindle. As the public rapidly stocks up as a preventative measure, stores are struggling to keep the product on shelves.
Now, three distilleries in Missouri are putting their own spin on the product.
J. Rieger & Co.
The distillery team at J. Rieger & Co. has repurposed their overproof gin originally used to keep distillery surfaces clean. This high-alcohol byproduct makes an all-natural disinfectant. Using their own alcohol-based solution, the company is now helping to combat the hand sanitizer shortage by producing its own version. Team members at J. Rieger's produce the hand sanitizer at the distillery.
“As a small, family-owned distillery, J. Rieger & Co. is committed to supporting their 95-plus team members and is making every effort to mitigate any financial impact, while also providing the best for their greater Kansas City community,” say Lucy Rieger, brand director at J. Rieger, in response to changing conditions prompted by the global pandemic.
The hand sanitizer will be available on a pay-what-you-can scale. Funds from proceeds will help provide a steady income for J. Rieger’s team. Suggested pricing is $5 for 2-ounce bottles and $30 for 2-liter bottles. Each customer may purchase up to five bottles so that current supplies meet the needs of as many people as possible. J. Rieger plans to increase production and offer larger quantities as more supplies arrive.
Rieger’s Remedy hand sanitizer is available on a first-come, first-serve basis, while supplies last, starting on Thu., March 19, from 11am to 5pm or sold out. Guests should take take Front Street or E. Third Street to Guinotte and stay in their vehicle for curbside delivery; the distillery will accept cash or cards.
Although J. Rieger’s onsite bars and events are currently closed to the public, the distillery now sells kits for 10 featuring its Monogram Lounge cocktails, ice included, for pickup. Sandwiches, kettle chips and non-perishable food items may also be ordered for pickup.
“The new cocktails-to-go and Rieger sanitizer offer a tremendous, direct benefit to the hospitality team,” Rieger says.
J. Rieger & Co, 2700 Guinotte Ave., Kansas City, jriegerco.com
Restless Spirits Distilling Co.
Benay Shannon, head distiller and co-founder of Restless Spirits Distilling Co., began making hand sanitizer this week. She received a request from Janel Bowers at Friends of Johnson County Developmental Support, a county government agency that assists county residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Restless Spirits is producing and donating its hand sanitizer to local organizations and nonprofits. Shannon, a chemist and former high school science teacher, calculates the product to be between 63 to 65 percent alcohol, above the recommended level for effective sanitization. “Yesterday, I made some for KC Hospice – their entire supply got stolen – and for the Independence Police Department,” says Shannon. “I had a call from North Kansas City Hospital so I expect to make some for them.”
Shannon has not reached out to other local organizations yet, but aims to continue supplying hand sanitizer to nonprofits in need.
“I don’t have containers so I am asking the groups I am providing for to bring an empty gallon water jug that I can trade them for a full one,” says Shannon. “I know people would like to be able to buy it so I may get to that.”
Shannon has experimented with varieties, including an aloe blend. She created labels for test bottles and dubbed her creation Duffy’s Defense, a riff on the company’s Duffy’s Run Vodka.
Restless Spirits Distilling Co., 109 E. 18th Ave. North Kansas City, 816.679.6938, restlessspiritsdistilling.com
4 Hands Brewing Brewing Co.
4 Hands Brewing Brewing Co. and its sister company 1220 Spirits have also developed hand sanitizer in house and are distributing it for free. The brewery accepts donations to fuel a fund to support the St. Louis hospitality industry.
“We are using the World Health Organization's formula for the hand sanitizer,” says 4 Hands founder and president Kevin Lemp. “We are currently giving away one two-ounce bottle per person. In lieu of payment we are asking for a donation to fuel a fund to help with the wellbeing of our hospitality industry.”
4 Hands will begin selling 1-gallon jugs by the end of the week and into next week at the brewery as well as in the market.
4 Hands Brewing Co. and 1220 Spirits, 1220 S. Eighth St., St. Louis, 314.436.1559, 4handsbrewery.com