Toledo breweries, distilleries make hand sanitizer to help fight COVID-19

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - For Toledo's breweries and distilleries, the coronavirus is taking its toll.

“It’s been a tough time," Toledo Spirits Company co-founder Dustin Wade said. "We’ve had to make a lot of really hard decisions with a lot of our staff and family.”

While things are quiet in taprooms and bars, it's a much different scene behind closed doors. At Toledo Spirits Company, workers continue to bottle locally made liquors. Leaders said they're able to keep some people working thanks in part to the new production of hand sanitizer.

"This business has always been about helping neighbors, helping our people," Wade said. "So anyway we can help we're happy to do so."

Wade said his team caught onto the idea shortly after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine ordered bars and restaurants to close in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Since then, they've worked seemingly non-stop on a recipe based on moonshine spirits that also meets World Health Organization and FDA guidelines.

With plans to start sales Wednesday at $1 per-ounce, Toledo Spirits will also give back.

"Every ounce that's sold, we'll be donating a complimentary ounce as well," Wade said. "We're working with the United Way to make those donations there."

Meanwhile at Maumee Bay Brewing Company, workers are also getting in on the sanitizer game. Vice president of business development Jonn Appold showed Action News on Monday how sanitizer there is made with recycled beer.

"We take the old beer from Maumee Bay and we strip it down in the still behind us here," Appold said while demonstrating the process.

After running through the still twice, Appold said he's left with anywhere between 160 to 180 proof alcohol. It's then mixed with mineral oil following health guidelines and, literally, bottled up. The homemade sanitizer is being offered free of charge.

"It's better for everybody if you can just give it away for free if you can," Appold said. “If we can just do a little thing that helps somebody out who can’t get hand sanitizer on their own — it’d be fantastic if we could provide that for them.”