Kentucky distilleries swap spirits for sanitizer

Kentucky distilleries are stepping up to address a COVID-19 induced shortage of hand sanitizer.

Distilleries shifting some of their production from spirits to sanitizer include Lexington Brewing & Distillery Co., Old Forester Distilling Co., Woodford Reserve Distillery, Wilderness Trail Distillery and Rabbit Hole Distillery. High-proof alcohol is the main ingredient in hand sanitizer.

The product from Lexington Brewing & Distillery Co., where Town Branch Bourbon is made, contains 80% alcohol, aloe vera gel and a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. Lexington Brewing & Distillery Co. dropped off the first batch free of charge at Lexington City Hall and have called for organizations in need to contact them at to request future batches.

Rabbit Hole Distillery in Louisville’s owner Pernod Ricard USA dedicated all four of its U.S. distilleries to producing and donating hand sanitizer to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Brown-Forman-owned distilleries Woodford Reserve and Old Forester produced and delivered thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer to Norton Hospitals in Louisville and Emergency Medical Services in Woodford County, as well as other emergency responders.

In Danville, microdistillery Wilderness Trail joined in to donate hand sanitizer to Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center. The distillery pledged to make 500 gallons a week for the next six to seven weeks, if necessary.

Other distilleries are also doing what they can, including Buffalo Trace Distillery which donated high-proof alcohol to first responders, government agencies, law enforcement, nonprofits and health care organizations in Kentucky for cleaning purposes.

— Rachel Nix

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