From Fireball to hand sanitizer! Boston Brands of Maine, the cinnamon whisky producer, is temporarily converting production lines to focus on making hand sanitizer. Above all, the distillery’s Saratoga Street plant is hiring displaced restaurant and bar workers to assist in the switch up. Another reason for the change is to help out local Maine hospitals. The company is accomplishing this by donating high proof cases of alcohol to the University of Maine, that the university will then turn into sanitizer to send to local hospitals in need.

Also, Boston Brands is making sanitizer for airlines, government facilities, and pharmacies. Amy Preske, spokeswoman for the distillery says, “In the state of Maine, its hospitals are going through about 400 gallons of hand sanitizer a day, so the donations of high proof grain alcohol that can be compounded into hand sanitizer are much needed.”

 

The Need for Hand Sanitizer

This shift comes from the top down. Boston Brands’ parent company, The Sazarec Company initiated the production of hand sanitizer at Buffalo Trace Distillery last month in Kentucky. Prior to this pandemic, Boston Brands was on the rise. Their signature Fireball Cinnamon Whisky is the most popular spirit in the state. Because of this, the company started producing 24/7.

Currently, the Lewiston plant is working with a temp agency to staff workers. With many looking for work, Peske offered, “..the hope is that they are able to help us not only to support the hand sanitizer production but our overall production.”

The Maine community feels great about the fact that enough alcohol to make 175 gallons of sanitizer has been donated so far. UMaine’s chemical lab appreciates the generosity. They now believe they can make up to 800 gallons a day, which is the predicted demand. Preske adds, “As of now, our focus is on large industries.” They are currently looking into offering smaller quantities to sell to the general public.

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