Bear Wallow Distillery producing hand sanitizer during fight against the coronavirus

Posted at 10:34 AM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-19 15:11:28-04

GNAW BONE — A Southern Indiana distillery is taking the alcohol it usually uses to make whiskey and turning it into hand sanitizer to help in the fight against COVID-19.

Susan Spangnolo owns Bear Wallow Distillery, one of the oldest craft distilleries in the state. During a normal week, her team would make 1,000 gallons of whiskey. Now the alcohol serves as the base for a product keeping people safe.

It actually wasn’t an easy switch," she said. "We didn’t have any of the ingredients that we needed to make hand sanitizer, except for the alcohol. We need to get labels we need to get bottles we need to get approval from the Federal Drug Administration."

Her sanitizer has 80% alcohol. It's whiskey scented, and it's meant for hands only.

"We’re taking the alcohol that we would typically put in a barrel to make our bourbon and were using that as the basis of our hand sanitizer," Spangnolo said. "We’re donating actually a lot of it. We’re giving it to not only Brown County, but local communities, the fire departments, the police departments, the EMS health organizations."

Before the crowds return, Spangnolo is thinking ahead and preparing should this health emergency re-emerge.

"I did make a commitment to myself that I will always have the ingredients on hand that if we need to make the switch I could make it faster next time," she said.