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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

San Diego distilleries are making hand sanitizer to respond to COVID-19

Cutwater Spirits is donating its hand sanitizer, and a Vista distillery is selling its hand sanitizer to keep workers employed and adding jobs.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Distilleries across the country are pouring out some love by making hand sanitizer in order to respond to the shortage during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The hand sanitizer being made at San Diego distilleries is being given to help non-profits, healthcare workers, and shoppers who can’t find it on retail shelves or online.

““We saw the escalating need for hand sanitizer in San Diego and quickly realized we have the resources and equipment to produce it,” said Shreyas Balakrishnan, Cutwater Spirits General Manager. 

The Mira Mesa distillery is joining other distilleries across the country such as Titos Vodka. 

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Cutwater is donating its FDA 80% ethanol approved hand sanitizer to the San Diego Food Bank and San Diego County Procurement office to help volunteers and workers protect themselves, as well as the public, against the coronavirus.

“We are not in the hand sanitizer making businesses. We are not trying to sell hand sanitizer. The idea is how can we step up when the community is need,” said Balakrishnan.

In Vista, Misadventure & Co. distillery is a four-person team making vodka from unsold baked goods. With mandatory closures they felt they had to do something to stay afloat, and help the public.

“The writing was on the wall was for us. There had to be some kind of transition or our small company wouldn't survive,” said Sam Chereskin, Misadventure & Co. Co-Founder.

So they made 22,000 bottles of FDA approved hand sanitizer and donated to Oceanside Kitchen Collaborative, Produce Good, and the United States
Bartenders Guild. They also sent out large orders to clinics, hospitals,
veterans' groups, and local governments.

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They also sold the product online -  a 100ml bottle for $6.75 and an eight ounce bottle for $16.95.

The sold out Friday. Now, instead a closed business and laying off employees, they are hiring more employees. 

“But the demand is really high. We want to make sure that we can get it to as many people as we can,” said Whit Rigali, Misadventure & Co. Co-Founder.

“It's about coming together and doing what each person can do to get us through this,” said Balakrishnan.

In order to protect the health of their employees, distilleries are closed and asking the public to not visit, for now. 

Cutwater is not selling the hand sanitizer to the public and Misadvenutre is selling its online here

They hope to have more bottles for sale this weekend.

WARNING: Their hand sanitizer is not vodka that you can drink.