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Distilleries Helping During the Covid-19 Pandemic: Painted Stave Distilling

Ron Gomes Jr. and Mike Rasmussen
Ron Gomes Jr. and Mike Rasmussen owners of Painted Stave Distilling

Over the years, Wine Trail Traveler has visited and written about distilleries in addition to wineries. We also had the experience of distilling some wine and infusing the brandy. A few weeks ago, Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan gave a shout out to local distilleries that are stepping up by making hand sanitizer. We reached out to the distilleries in our region that we have visited and written about to see if they would like to conduct an online interview about making hand sanitizer. In this first post, we have the interview with Painted Stave Distilling  in Smyrna, Delaware.

Wine Trail Traveler: Why did you decide to produce hand sanitizer?

Mike Rasmussen: We were approached by a number of people in our community about making it, including our police department. Our first batch (2,200 four oz bottles) was made for the police so they would be able to meet their needs and distribute it to the community.  After the state restricted our sales, we decided to make more to help serve the need in our community and generate a little revenue to help keep the doors open.

Hand Sanitizer
Painted Stave Distilling is now making hand sanitizer. Image provided by Painted Stave Distilling.

Wine Trail Traveler: What raw materials are you using to make hand sanitizer?
Mike Rasmussen: We are producing the WHO formulation based on their guidelines (the only formulation it is legal for distilleries to produce).  We use a corn based neutral spirit add hydrogen peroxide to denature it and then glycerine and water to cut it to the required 80% alcohol.  Noting else can be legally added to the WHO formulation.

Wine Trail Traveler: How does the production of hand sanitizer differ from alcohol spirits and how is it similar? 

Mike Rasmussen: Sanitizer production is much simpler than spirits production. We source neutral spirit for production of our sanitizer, so the production is mostly blending it in the right proportions and bottling it.

Smyrna Police Department
Smyrna Police pick up hand sanitizer. Image provided by Painted Stave Distilling.

Wine Trail Traveler: Who are the primary recipients of your hand sanitizer?  Will you sell to the public online? 

Mike Rasmussen: We have focused on supplying First Responders first (Fire, Police, EMS, Medical Professionals, etc.), but we are also supplying essential businesses and other state agencies that are in need.  If we are able to met those needs we will also offer it to our community. Our understanding is that we are not allowed to ship sanitizer so it will only be available for those who can pick it up at the distillery.

Wine Trail Traveler: How much hand sanitizer can you produce and what amount do you think that you will produce? 

Mike Rasmussen: We have produced about 1,100 gallons so far and expect to produce that much more in the next few weeks. We will continue to produce it as long as there is need in our community.

Wine Trail Traveler: Are you considering selling hand sanitizer after the pandemic is over?

Mike Rasmussen: Sanitizer production is only allowable by the TTB and FDA during the Covid-19 Emergency.  Once that emergency designation is lifted it will no longer be legal for distilleries to produce Sanitizer unless they become FDA Certified Facilities

What is the price point that you are selling your hand sanitizer?
Mike Rasmussen: We are selling it for $35 a gallon.

We would like to thank Mike Rasmussen from Painted Stave Distilling for answering the questions.

Wine Trail Traveler’s article about Painted Staves Distilling


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