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If you’ve shopped for hand sanitizer in recent weeks, you’ve probably come up dry. Thanks to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, hand sanitizer and other essentials are in short supply. So, a local winery and distillery is stepping up to help fill the need during an uncertain time.
A Shift in Production
Monkey Hollow Winery and Distillery in St. Meinrad is a family-owned operation that produces a variety of award-winning wines, as well as distilled spirits. When they realized that their equipment could also be used to make much-needed hand sanitizer, they got to work!
Following guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO), the distillery began production recently. And as long as they can get the necessary ingredients, they’ll continue producing hand sanitizer during the health crisis.
The hand sanitizer, named “Battle Monkey,” is available for sale to healthcare workers, companies, and individuals. To show their support to those on the frontlines of the coronavirus fight, the distillery is donating a portion of the hand sanitizer to local businesses working with at-risk populations.
Q&A with Monkey Hollow Winery and Distillery
Faye Hedinger, a member of the Monkey Hollow family, was kind enough to answer a few questions about this unique undertaking.
Q: What’s the process for making the hand sanitizer and how does it compare to the wine-making/distilling process?
Faye: The hand sanitizer itself is more time consuming – you have to add ingredients after the distilling process. Also, we are distilling to a higher alcohol concentration to ensure that the final product is high enough alcohol to be effective (and to meet the WHO specifications). Basically, though, we are distilling the alcohol, and then measuring and mixing to ensure a product that meets the WHO standards.
Q: Was it difficult to get the necessary materials (ingredients, packaging, etc.) to start making the hand sanitizer?
Faye: It has been very hard to get packaging. Even when we thought we had found bottles, the company came back to us a day later and stated they had oversold and that those bottles were now on backorder. We are just making do and packaging in any way we can. We think we will have more standard-type bottles in a couple of days. And we are also making our own labels.
Q: How can people get the hand sanitizer?
Faye: We are selling the sanitizer at the winery. The price is currently $10. If the costs come down for us to make it, we will pass those cost savings on to customers.
At the winery, we‘re already ensuring that we maintain social distancing for any customer that comes in, and we are adhering to strict cleaning procedures (as we always do, but we are being especially careful right now!). We are looking into how we can start allowing online purchasing and shipping of our product, but this has been a little harder to get off the ground while we have been trying to figure out the production side as well.
Q: Do you think you’ll continue to make the hand sanitizer once this health crisis is over?
Faye: We don’t know what we will do once this is over. For now, we are able to make this product because of a loosening of regulations. We will have to see what the regulatory framework will be after things go back to normal. If we can, though, I think we would like to make the sanitizer, but probably on a pretty small scale.
Q: How did you come up with the name “Battle Monkey”?
Faye: This was a name that we actually had prepared for a drink product, but we thought it was applicable to the sanitizer. Our tag line, if we had one, would be “Send in the troops,” a play on the fact that a family of monkeys is called a troop, and that we are “sending in our troops” to battle the virus!
In This Fight Together
Across the country, individuals and businesses are joining together to fight this ongoing health crisis. And with “Battle Monkey” hand sanitizer, Monkey Hollow Winery and Distillery is providing much-needed help in that fight!