In a fine example of adaptive pandemic production, Tonkon Torp client Hood River Distillers will produce 24,000 gallons of hand sanitizer for local first responders, medical facilities, and food service employees by the end of May.
As soon as COVID-19 appeared in Oregon, the demand for hand sanitizer rapidly depleted local supply. By mid-March, Hood River Distillers had dedicated part of its production and bottling facilities in Hood River to making 375ml and 1.75L bottles of sanitizer at a large scale. Now that their production schedule is established, they are bottling approximately 3,000 gallons of 80% alcohol-based antiseptic hand rub each week, equating to over 30,000 375ml bottles. Hood River Distillers is working closely with the Oregon Health Authority and Moda Health, another Tonkon Torp client, to distribute the sanitizer at cost to workers in the healthcare and food service industries throughout the state.
Hood River Distillers is the Northwest’s largest and oldest distillery. When it announced its partnership with the Oregon Health Authority, head distiller Joe O’Sullivan said, "Hood River Distillers is, first and foremost, continuing to make and distribute high-quality spirits to meet demand while ensuring that all of our employees are working under safe conditions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. At the same time, we see a need that we can help fulfill by producing this hand sanitizer for those on the front lines."
Distilleries are in a unique position to contribute to the statewide effort to control the spread of the virus since ethanol is equally essential for the distilling of spirits, and for killing pathogens on skin and surfaces. Join us in raising a toast to Hood River Distillers for jumping in to help keep our frontline essential workers safe!