4 Hands Brewing Co. has begun producing hand sanitizer. courtesy of 4 Hands Brewing Co.

St. Louis breweries and distilleries produce hand sanitizer to combat COVID-19

As the St. Louis restaurant industry continues to make adjustments to developing safety restrictions during the coronavirus outbreak, some local businesses have shifted their focus to producing hand sanitizer.

Using a combination of alcohol, distilled water, glycerin and hydrogen peroxide, local breweries and distilleries are using materials they already have access to in order to contribute to the fight against COVID-19. 

4 Hands Brewing Co. announced Wednesday on Instagram that they would be distributing hand sanitizer to customers and visitors. In exchange, 4 Hands is asking for donations to its fundraiser supporting those working in restaurants in St. Louis.

Kevin Lemp, 4 Hands Brewing Co. president, said this opportunity was a great way to give back to the city. 

“A lot of people are laid off right now, and I think the restaurant industry has been hurt the most,” Lemp said. “We’re working with people a lot smarter than us to help us find the proper channel to give back.”

In accordance with the World Health Organization’s guidelines on local production of hand sanitizer, 4 Hands was able to make the product mostly with ingredients already on-hand. 

“The only item we didn’t have was glycerin,” Lemp said.

The tasting room at 4 Hands is currently offering take-out orders, and they are keeping a limited production team while asking their employees to practice social distancing. 

4 Hands is currently giving away 2-ounce bottles to visitors, and they’re also producing gallon-sized containers to distribute to other local businesses. 4 Hands has also started a GoFundMe page for the fundraiser to support the hospitality industry. Click here to donate.

Still 630 Distillery is also working on producing hand sanitizer. Owner David Weglarz said that he plans to donate hand sanitizer to those working in health care. 

“We're planning on donating it to the incredible people on the front lines,” Weglarz said. “We have very close friends who are doctors, and we want to support those people who are putting themselves in harm’s way to help the rest of us.”

Weglarz said that Still 630 is “basically shut down,” and that its main focus is supporting the employees. 

“I can't justify spending precious dollars on grain or barrels if I might need that money just to make payroll some week down the road,” he said. “So my focus is doing my best to make sure our people are taken care of and, if we can help a little bit by making some small amount of hand sanitizer, then we're proud to do so.”

Square One Brewery & Distillery is also producing hand sanitizer to give out to customers. Square One’s Molly McKenna said the restaurant will be opened limited hours and that they plan to give away the hand sanitizer during those hours. 

“You can make [hand sanitizer] with either aloe or glycerin,” McKenna said. “We chose glycerin so the product won’t be so sticky. We will also add some essential oil to help cover the alcohol smell.”

McKenna said that Square One Brewery’s cleaning procedures have intensified amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“The thing is, breweries and distilleries by their nature are obsessed with cleaning things to control bacteria, so mostly we standardized our procedures and increased frequency of cleaning and respected the guidelines from the CDC,” McKenna said.

Anheuser-Busch has also stepped up and will begin producing sanitizer as well: “We have a long history of supporting our communities and employees - this time is no different. That’s why we are using our supply and logistics network to begin producing and distributing bottles of hand sanitizer to accommodate the growing needs across the United States,” the company announced on Facebook Saturday.

Erin Killion is an editorial intern at Sauce Magazine.

Tags : News, Coronavirus