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Distilleries shift gears to make hand sanitizer

Distilleries shift gears to make hand sanitizer

Only $5 for 5 months

Two distilleries in Catawba County are stepping up to fill the void of hand sanitizer left by the high demand due to COVID-19.

Warehouse Distillery in Newton and SeventeenTwelve Spirits in Conover are selling sanitizer by the bottle to help individuals and businesses stay clean and healthy during the pandemic.

Warehouse Distillery co-owner Baillie Setzer said making hand sanitizer is an unexpected way they’re able to help others during a time when it can be hard to know how to help.

“We never thought getting into a whiskey business would have us helping during a pandemic,” she said.

Her sister, Andie Setzer, co-owner of Warehouse Distillery, agreed. The result, she said, has been an outpouring of support for the distillery and plenty of donations to help them continue making sanitizer and continue donating 20 percent of the sanitizer they make to local first responders and hospitals.

“I feel like being in the booze industry we’re limited in what we can do,” she said. “It’s cool to see the community all come together for this.”

They plan to make sure first responders all over Catawba County have the hand sanitizer they need, then they’ll start responding to requests from agencies all over the area, Baillie Setzer said.

The distillery has also gotten interest from businesses big and small looking to keep their employees and customers safe and clean.

While sales of their regular spirits haven’t slowed, the sisters say they likely wouldn’t be working as much if they hadn’t decided to make sanitizer, Andie Setzer said.

“I definitely think we’d be going crazy at home,” she said. “We wouldn’t want to be putting out too much product.”

Instead, they’re hard at work with their father Ron Setzer crafting sanitizer. They plan to do so as long as they can, which is through December of this year as allowed by the government.

Efforts at SeventeenTwelve brought together two businesses to make the sanitizer, owner Zackary Cranford said.

Olde Hickory Brewing sent SeventeenTwelve kegs of an IPA beer meant for restaurant shipments that fell by the wayside. The beer was turned into a high-proof hand sanitizer.

Even without beer to make the sanitizer out of, Cranford plans to continue making hand sanitizer as long as people want it.

“We’re going to continue to make hand sanitizer for (the) foreseeable future until demand settles down,” Cranford said.

With the supply of sanitizer low, Cranford has heard from customers how happy they are to have somewhere to buy it.

“We wanted to do it to fill the void for people who can’t find hand sanitizer,” he said.

For both distilleries, it was a learning process to make the sanitizer. Both are still making their regular spirits.

Both distilleries are selling their sanitizer on-site during tent-sale hours as well as elsewhere.

To buy hand sanitizer from Warehouse Distillery, visit their Facebook page, website or call 828-464-5183.

To buy sanitizer from SeventeenTwelve Distillery, visit their Facebook page to find out when the tent sale is open, call 828-381-2949 or look for it at Olde Hickory Station in downtown Hickory.

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