Hand Sanitizer Made From Booze Exists, and Distilleries Are Giving It Away Free
As panic buying and hoarding created a national shortage of hand sanitizer, some distilleries are now donating sterilization products made from their own in-house alcohol.
Published on March 20, 2020

As Americans rightly freak out over the coronavirus pandemic, hand sanitizers made with rubbing alcohol have practically vanished from store shelves. Now, booze distilleries are making sanitizers with their own liquor, and, best of all, they’re giving them away for free.

Commercial hand sanitizers capable of killing the COVID-19 virus must contain at least 70 percent rubbing alcohol, otherwise known as isopropanol. However, ethanol — the kind of alcohol that gets people drunk AF — can also kill the coronavirus, so long as it’s also mixed at 60 to 85 percent.

On Thursday, Old Fourth Distillery in Atlanta began giving out hand sanitizer made from its distilled booze. Old Fourth specializes in making vodka from sugar cane, but given the current coronavirus crisis, the company sacrificed some of its ethanol by mixing it into aloe-vera-based sanitizer. The only catch: The company asked folks to bring their own containers to take the sanitizer back home, CNN reported.

"Due to the recent reports of outages and low supply in our community, we have decided to provide hand sanitizer free of charge to anyone in need. Made with aloe vera gel and 95% ethanol," Old Fourth Distillery announced on Instagram last week. "This is no substitute for washing your hands, but in a pinch, it will get the job done."

If you live in Georgia, just know that Old Fourth Distillery already ran out of its viral vodka vanquisher. The company plans to re-up by Monday, and it’s taking monetary donations from those who can spare some extra coin.

Moonrise Distillery, also based in the Peach State, provides free booze hand sanitizer, as well. And Durham Distillery in North Carolina, which specializes in gin and vodka, is now giving out sanitizer containing 70 percent alcohol. But unlike Old Fourth and Moonrise, Durham Distillery prioritized hospitality workers to get first dibs on its no-cost sanitizer.

More distilleries will likely jump onboard this emergency public service in the weeks to come.  The coronavirus pandemic has shown no signs of slowing down in the US, where up to half of the population may become infected with the COVID-19 virus. As of yesterday, Italy’s coronavirus deaths surpassed China’s, even though Italy’s population is a mere 4 percent of China’s.

So, use soap and water when you can. If you can’t, reach out for that hand sanitizer, whether it’s made from rubbing alcohol, gin, vodka, or Everclear. And please, only use our precious supplies of sanitizer for sanitizing your hands when soap isn’t nearby. Don’t get creative

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Randy Robinson
Based in Denver, Randy studied cannabinoid science while getting a degree in molecular biology at the University of Colorado. When not writing about cannabis, science, politics, or LGBT issues, they can be found exploring nature somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Catch Randy on Twitter and Instagram @randieseljay
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