In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, cider makers have proven themselves to be resilient and resourceful, pivoting their sales models to online sales and shipping, organizing and gathering together online, and finding ways to give back to their communities.
One new development in this unfolding story is that a number of cider makers are beginning to produce hand sanitizer as a way to address the national shortage that is especially concerning in hospitals and other medical treatment centers. Much of the equipment used for distilling (which many cider makers also do) can be used to make hand sanitizer — who knew?! — and cider makers are stepping up big-time to help out in this time of crisis. Here are a few that are pivoting to producing hand sanitizer that we’ve heard about:
3 Daughters Brewing
In St. Petersburg, Florida, 3 Daughters Brewing, which craft brews beer and also makes cider and hard seltzer under the name 3 Daughters Cider, began making hand sanitizer in mid-March to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. In an email newsletter, the brand’s team said, “It was with the spirit of community and camaraderie that we turned the use of our brewing facilities, materials and expertise to the production of hand sanitizer at a time when cleanliness can be the difference between sickness and health, life and death. In barely more than a week, we’ve already been able to donate thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer to first responders, hospitals, front-line retailers, and our neighbors in St. Pete.”
In just a few hours after posting this news, 3 Daughters reportedly received thousands of responses, including people showing up at the brewery, which was not their intention (they rescinded the brewery pick-ups soon after). After just a few days in production, they were nearly out of the ingredients required to make hand sanitizer, and put a call out through social media to find more isopropyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, sonogram gel and containers. As more materials have been sourced, 3 Daughters is prioritizing getting its hand sanitizer production to the front lines of the crisis (the hand sanitizer is being donated). Any inquiries and requests should be emailed to email@example.com.
Blake’s Hard Cider
Beginning on April 8, Armada, Michigan-based Blake’s Hard Cider began selling liquid hand sanitizer manufactured in its distillery anywhere in the State of Michigan. Gallon-size hand sanitizer will be distributed to hospitals and large businesses, and eight-ounce spray bottles are available for purchase for the public. Blake’s hand sanitizer is free for first responders with valid ID.
“We consider ourselves fortunate to be in the position to expand our production capabilities to manufacture and supply hand sanitizer that meets World Health Organization standards to front-line healthcare workers and the public,” says Blake’s owner and founder, Andrew Blake. “Now, more than ever, we must find ways to support and look out for each other, and Blake’s is proud and committed to doing our part.”
This hand sanitizer will be sold at Blake’s Orchard & Cider Mill (17985 Armada Center Road, Armada, MI) for $6.99 each, available for curbside pickup, with a limit of two bottles per vehicle. Please note that the price is subject to change based on the cost of materials. Gallon-size hand sanitizer will be offered only to healthcare facilities and businesses for $30 and can be shipped throughout Michigan. For inquiries and orders, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blake’s, which has shown its unwavering commitment to community causes through its Kinder Cider line, is also supporting the community right now by provided free meals for school-aged kids (18 and under), available daily between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The company is also collecting medical supplies (masks, gowns, gloves, disinfectant) accepted in a sealed zip lock or garbage bags at the drive-through during business hours, all to be delivered to area hospitals. Anyone who donates PPE through Blake’s is treated to a free cup of Blake’s sweet cider and a donut. Visit the Blake Farms website for more info.
Cider Creek Hard Cider
Located in Canisteo, New York, Cider Creek Hard Cider has teamed up with other local businesses, Wild Brute Winery and Krooked Tusker Distillery to manufacture hand sanitizer out of its cider production facility. The 8-ounce bottles of 80% alcohol hand sanitizer are being sold at cost ($6 each) and have been hugely in demand from the local community. While Cider Creek struggles to keep up with production, it is prioritizing getting the product to those on the front line of the pandemic, like first-responders, health care facilities and essential businesses, as well as those with compromised immune systems. Follow Cider Creek on Instagram for updates on when more of its hand sanitizer will become available.
West End Ciderhouse & Distillery
West End Ciderhouse, based in Athens, Ohio, has a distilling wing of the company called West End Distillery, located just a block away from the Cider House. In March, the distillery started making hand sanitizer, using alcohol from its still, mixed with inactive ingredients to created a product with 80% alcohol. Bulk containers have been filled for local businesses, and 4-ounce bottles of the hand sanitizer are available for $6 each at the distillery (37 West State St., Athens, OH) which is open Tuesday through Friday, from noon to 4 p.m., and at Shriver’s Pharmacy on Union Street.
If you know of other cider makers using their resources and equipment to make hand sanitizer, give them a shout-out in the comments!
- Photos: Blake's Hard Cider