Fairport’s Iron Smoke Distillery is the latest craft distillery that is switching from making liquor to making alcohol-based hand sanitizer in this era of pandemic.
But Iron Smoke is partnering with Rochester Midland Corporation, a 140-year-old company specializing in sanitation, to embark on this new line.
The award-winning whiskey maker says it has already made more than 9,000 gallons of hand sanitizer and expects to produce 15,000 a week, aiming to supply communities where the product is scarce. First responders will get the first 2,000 bottles.
Rochester Midland is operating as distributor for the hand sanitizer.
“We held our guns and went big with the perfect partner—RMC. This affords us an exceptional opportunity to support people in the community that have supported us for so long. Our hearts are filled to be able to help in these difficult times.” said Tommy Brunett, CEO and founder of Iron Smoke Distillery.
A joint statement from Rochester Midland’s co-CEOs, Bradley Calkins and Katherine Lindahl, said the agreement helps keep staff from both businesses employed.
“The supply chain for these materials has been incredibly volatile over the last couple of weeks, and the innovative thinking on Iron Smoke Distillery’s part to convert their distilling process to manufacture hand sanitizer is to be commended. Based on a handshake and mutual interest in moving this to maximum production quickly but safely, our companies have collaborated incredibly well.”
In an effort to help those who have supported Iron Smoke in the past, the distillery has also established a “Smoke Out COVID-19” webpage showing videos of bartenders explaining how to make cocktails. Viewers can provide some income to the bartenders by tipping them, as they’ve been out of work for the last two weeks as their places of employment were shut down across the state.
Other local distilleries making sanitizer include Black Button Distillery in Rochester, Finger Lakes Distilling in Burdett, a Schuyler County town near Watkins Glen, and Antler Run Distilling on Keuka Lake.
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