Distilleries and Breweries Contribute in the Fight Against Coronavirus

March 25, 2020
The proof is in the production as distilleries and breweries large and small band together to help battle COVID-19 as it sweeps through the United States.

In a March 6 blog post, we chuckled as we posted Titos Vodka's Twitter warning to consumers not to use their vodka for hand sanitizer. At the time, the surge to the supermarket was just picking up and people were panicking about keeping themselves clean and sanitized.

Fast forward two weeks. Distilleries, including Tito’s Vodka are helping out in the war against coronavirus by converting their distilleries into hand sanitizer facilities. Companies like Brown-Foreman, Pernod Ricard USA, and beer producer Anheuser-Busch are stepping up and stepping in to the sanitizer game as well.

Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You, But What You Can do for your Country

As the United States gets caught up with the run on groceries, some beverage manufacturers took it upon themselves to unify. According to this report on Entprenuer, the spirits industry banded together to convince the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to clear a path and let them help out. 

There are as many articles on how these production companies are making the quick pivot to produce as there are companies producing.

Louisville’s BizJournal speaks to what Pernod Ricard USA and Brown-Foreman are doing to help the fight while the Wall Street Journal can explain who is turning whiskey and gin into hand sanitizer. You can also get caught up on what the New York brewers and distillers are doing in this item on the New York Post.

History Repeats Itself

Coronavirus isn’t the first time America has made the switch from spirits to safety. 

According to reports and history lessons alike, distilleries were often converted to produce materials necessary for the health and safety of the country.

For instance, did you know:

  • During World War II bourbon distilleries became the wartime producers of penicillin. (Source)
  • Distilleries also made fuel alcohol and industrial alcohol during World War II (Source)

Speaking of Industrial alcohol, according to the Distilled Spirits Council:

  • 23 gallons of industrial alcohol were required in the manufacture of a Jeep.
  • 19¾ gallons were needed to produce one 16-inch naval shell.
  • 1 gallon was needed in order to make 64 hand grenades or two 155mm Howitzer shells.

And for the real trivia buffs out there, Rum was one of the major beneficiaries of World War II because it was easy and inexpensive to transport from the Caribbean to the U.S. and was one of the only spirits available to drink (Source)

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