Lakewood distillery rushes to pump out hand sanitizer to help with shortage

Lakewood distillery rushes to pump out hand sanitizer to help with shortage
Western Reserve Distillers in Lakewood want to help fill the need in the community (Source: Kelly Kennedy)

LAKEWOOD, Ohio (WOIO) - Many small businesses are switching things up to meet the growing needs amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Ann and Kevin Thomas are known for their award-winning organic bourbons, and their spelt vodka and gin.

The owners of Western Reserve Distillers in Lakewood are still selling bottles during the pandemic.

“Lucky for us, people are drinking in times like this,” said Ann Thomas, Western Reserve Distillers co-founder.

They had to shut down their bar, stop their classes, and they’re only doing takeout and delivery from their restaurant. They knew they wanted to do something to help the community with the coronavirus crisis.

“We’re usually quite active here, we have a lot of classes and a lot of events,” said Ann. Clearly we can’t have any so we’re missing our interaction with all of our customers, so we decided this is a way we can still give back and do something extra.”

The couple quickly realized all their in-house alcohol could also produce hand sanitizer. They announced they would start selling hand sanitizer Thursday night on social media.

The first batch won’t be ready to sell until April 3. They are taking pre-orders on Eventbrite and they’ve already sold more than 200 gallons.

“We actually just quadrupled the amount of grain we order from our farmers, so our farmer was grinding grain pretty much all day today. We should get the delivery tomorrow and hopefully mashing and distilling by next weekend,” said Kevin Thomas, co-founder of Western Reserve Distillers.

Kevin recommends you save your hand sanitizers if you have them because they will only be selling them in gallon jugs, they’ll cost $25 a gallon.

“Get as much out there into the marketplace as possible, get it into the hands of the people that need it,” Kevin said.

As of now the federal government is letting them make hand sanitizer until the end of June. The couple said they will make it as long as it is needed. They are also donating a portion of the sales to the bartender’s guild to help those out of work.

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