Many alcohol distiller operations around the county decided to start making hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 crisis.
Peach Street Distillers in Palisade was one of those companies.
At first it worked well, said president Bill Graham.
“It’s relatively simple, mix it and package it,” he said. “It’s a pretty simple process.”
He packaged the sanitizer in small bottles and donated them to people in the community and to customers at the distillery.
“It was just some do goodery,” he said with a chuckle.
Soon it became obvious that the distilling process wasn’t set up to consistently produce the product.
“We’re not tooled for this. We’re distillers, and we ran out of the supplies to make the hand sanitizer and couldn’t get our hands on more,” he said. “We have all the alcohol we need but we ran out of the other ingredients.”
There are also standards and requirements, especially for packaging, that made the process overly difficult, Graham said.
“It’s frustrating,” he said, and the most frustrating part of it is the scarcity of hand sanitizer.
“In the middle of all the heartbreak to also say ‘no’ to someone in need really hurts,” Graham said.
The Peach Street president hasn’t completely given up and has “people actively trying” to acquire the ingredients.
After producing the last last batch of sanitizer last week, he said he knows that it will be difficult at this point to crank up the hand sanitizer production again.
Like all restaurant and bar businesses, Graham said it’s been a tough go with sales plummeting since the order stopping all sit-down operations, and then the state Stay at Home order.
The distillery makes a variety of alcoholic drinks including bourbon, tequila, gin and vodka, and was won numerous awards over the past few years.
The distillery and its food provider The Foodery Depot at Peach Street Distillers are still doing take-out for food and alcohol.
Graham said Peach Street has a loyal customer base and he’s seen many of those people placing take-out orders.
“It’s great to see them continue to support us,” he said.