NASHVILLE – Tennessee distilleries announced today that they are banding together to pivot operations from whiskey-making and repurposing the alcohol for hand sanitizer and surface cleaner production in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Distillers are working rapidly to obtain ingredients necessary to produce sanitizing products in bulk due to supply shortages resulting from the pandemic.
“We saw a need in our communities, and we are on a mission to make a difference,” said Kris Tatum, president of Tennessee Distillers Guild. “It’s a great feeling when competitors collectively decide to put profits aside and jointly decide to support the communities which have made us successful in the first place.”
Sanitizing products will be delivered to large transportation companies, municipalities and health care businesses across the state.
“We’re trying to help government entities including fire departments, police stations, physician offices and other businesses that are the heartbeat of our state and still on the front lines serving the public and keeping the economy going,” said Greg Eidam, head distiller at Sugarlands Distilling Company in Gatlinburg, Tenn.
Tennessee distilleries have taken a hard hit as a result of the sudden coronavirus-induced downturn. Distilleries have suspended tours, cancelled large events, and ceased production in order to minimize the risk to employees and guests and further spread of the virus throughout the state.
“The irony here is that during Prohibition, many distilleries became medical dispensaries in times of sickness,” noted Keener Stanton, head distiller at Old Forge Distilling Company in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. “I think we’re heeding the call of our ancestors and doing what those who came before us would’ve been proud to see us do.”
About the Tennessee Distillers Guild:
The Tennessee Distillers Guild is a membership organization that consists of 32 Tennessee distilleries and associate members. The mission of the Tennessee Distillers Guild is to responsibly promote and advocate for the distilling industry in Tennessee through the collective voice of its members. In June 2017, the Tennessee Distillers Guild launched the Tennessee Whiskey Trail, a 26-stop tour of Tennessee distilleries across the state. For more information about the Tennessee Distillers Guild, visit www.tndistillersguild.org.
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