Oregon distillery makes free hand sanitizer amid coronavirus outbreak

An Oregon distillery is helping out during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak by making and giving out free bottles of hand sanitizer to people.

According to KPTV-TV, Shine Distillery and Grill in Portland makes the in-house hand sanitizer using a byproduct of the distillation process that’s not meant for human consumption, rather than the stuff they serve at the bar:

Basically, when they distill the alcohol, the first part that comes out isn’t meant to drink, so they make a cleaner out of it.

“I had a lady sitting at the bar the other night and she asked if she could have some and I wasn’t sure, so over the weekend, we did our research and checked with the controlling authorities and come to find, as long as we’re not making a medical claim or selling it, we’re allowed to give it away,” owner Jon Poteet said.

Now with 80 percent alcohol (above the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation of at least 60 percent), xanthan gum to thicken the mix, and a little bit of water, they’re making hand sanitizer for customers.

Legally, Poteet can’t even call what he makes a “sanitizer,” according to Willamette Week, and instead labels the alcohol-laden product a “hand cleaner.”

[embedded content] Local distillery is using its spare spirits to make hand sanitizer www.youtube.com

According to its website, the Portland-based distillery was founded in 2018 and makes multiple kinds of liquor, including vodka, gin and whiskey.

In a social media post last week, the local distiller touted the new product, saying that those in need of come could come by and pick some up.

“House distilled hand cleaner made at Shine- stop by if you’re in need,” the company wrote on its Facebook page. “We’re handing out free bottles while the supplies last!”

Consumers’ rush to stock up on hand sanitizer in response to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19 — has led to shortages of the product as of late. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration announced on Saturday that it wouldn’t take action against doctors and pharmacists who decide to make it for people themselves, so long as they follow certain guidelines on how to make it.

Earlier this month, Texas-based Tito’s Vodka made headlines when its Twitter account repeatedly warned customers not to use the product as a replacement for hand sanitizer.

“Per the CDC, hand sanitizer needs to contain at least 60% alcohol,” the company told several Twitter users. “Tito’s Handmade Vodka is 40% alcohol, and therefore does not meet the current recommendation of the CDC.”

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