Helena’s Gulch Distillers is making hand sanitizer out of 30 kegs of unused beer provided by George’s Distributing.
According to Steffen Rasile, one of the distillery’s co-owners, the business wanted to do anything it could to help those who need it most amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We never thought we would be doing this,” Rasile said.”But we’ve had to reinvent the business a few times in the past few weeks.”
On Thursday, George’s Distributing delivered the 30 kegs of beer it wouldn’t be able to get into the hands of restaurants and bars before it expires. Gulch Distillers will distill the alcohol out of the mix. This will leave a waste product made of malt, hops and water, and the pure alcohol will be used to make the sanitizer.
“It’s a very similar process to how we make our vodka,” Rasile said.
Rasile said the distillery is using a hand sanitizer recipe provided by the World Health Organization. The end product is quite different than what many people might think of when they picture hand sanitizer. Rasile said it’s more liquid than semi-solid and has a significantly higher alcohol content. It is also unscented.
The Gulch crew finished their first batch of hand sanitizer last Monday. That batch went to local first responders. The hand sanitizer is sold at a small price that covers the production costs, according to Rasile.