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Bootlegging For A Better Cause: Distillers Find New Purpose In The Making And Distributing Of Hand Sanitizer

Apr 03, 2020 12:09PM ● By Gabrielle Varela
Hospitality takes on a whole new role as distilleries across Vermont turns their efforts toward mass-producing hand sanitizer made from high proof alcohol to replace those that have left store shelves bare. 

In efforts to keep everyone safe and with the the recent closing of many bars, the spirits industry has found a new use for the large amounts of ethanol they produce. Distilleries like Silo Distillery in Windsor and Barr Hill in Montpelier have been making bulk orders and delivering them to hospitals and service workers still facing the public.

After closing their bar, Barr HIll in Montpelier began packaging and providing sanitizer to healthcare workers, food banks and other essential organizations. They recently announced on their Instagram that orders are now open to individuals after partnering with a company to provide more bottles. Their spirits company who make gin and vodka famously distilled from honey now provides hand sanitizer in honey bear bottles for a new product that is both crucial to the hour and adorably on brand. They are currently taking orders two weeks out.

The staff at Silo Distillery in Windsor, VT have also been working tirelessly mass-producing sanitizer.

“We’re just gonna keep going until we can’t keep going,” Said Erin Bell, Head Distiller at SILO on a phone call as she prepared a delivery to drive to Burlington. She reports that the distillery is firing off 75-100 gallons at a time to distribute all over the state.  “We have a list of priorities and it’s long. We want to help keep everyone as safe as possible.”

The priority market she refers to is the workers at the forefront of this pandemic; hospitals, first responders, volunteers providing and moving the homeless, USPS workers, and nursing home centers.

SILO Sanitizer is free to individuals in 12oz portions with donations encouraged at their GoFundMe page. Those interested can pick up at the distillery along with replenishing the stock of their favorite spirits from their retail stock. Pick up is 4-6 pm every day including weekends. Remember to bring your own bottles as this distillery does not currently have a supplier.


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