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Local distillery asks for support to meet demand for hand sanitizer production

The Old Fourth Distillery is working to ramp up production and help first responders in need of sanitizers

ATLANTA — An Atlanta distillery is showing what it means to be a good neighbor amid the coronavirus outbreak by stepping up to fill in a need.

As concerns of the spread of the new virus grew, people swarmed retailers to stock up on hand sanitizers and other cleaners to protect their families. But it caused a severe shortage of the much-needed disinfectants.

That's when the Old Fourth Distillery decided to help, and create their own sanitizers to share with the public.

"Due to the recent reports of outages and low supply in our community, we have decided to provide hand sanitizer free of charge to anyone in need," the local business, which normally distills Bourbon whiskey, vodka and gin, announced on Instagram late last week. "This is no substitute for washing your hands but in a pinch it will get the job done."

The business' mixture is made with aloe vera gel and 95 percent ethanol, and was first made available at the distillery on March 12. Anyone who had a container was welcome to bring one to get filled for free.

"We realize our business is probably going to suffer a little bit," co-owner Craig Moore said. "We rely heavily on bars and restaurants who buy our product. While we're kinda sitting around idle for a little while, we might as well make something that can help the community, and we're in a fortunate position that we have the ability to make high proof alcohol."

However, due to the "awesome response and overwhelming demand," the company is out of sanitizer and is waiting for a shipment of new ingredients to resume production.

The distillery, in turn, now asking for help.

"We were overrun and overwhelmed pretty quickly," Moore told 11Alive. "Over the weekend, we changed our tactic and tried to shift our supply chain and manufacturing apparatus to be able to produce more but do it in a way that's safe for our staff and also, the people of our community."

RELATED: Live updates: Coronavirus in Georgia

In the meantime, they are turning back to the community to ask for help to keep production going.

But the demand now focused on  meeting the needs of first responders on the first lines of dealing with coronavirus. 

"We're also making larger volumes to start really helping out customers such as public safety and APD and MARTA police....homeless shelters, just organizations from all over the country who've reached out asking if we can sell or offer it to them in donations as bulk," Moore said. 

They have posted a link in the bio of their Instagram page for anyone who would like to donate to help them make more sanitizer for the community.

At 11Alive, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.11Alive.com/Coronavirus.

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