PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. — As the spread of coronavirus closed businesses and created more demand for personal protective equipment, Old Forge Distillery changed its production.
It started making hand sanitizer to distribute to state agencies on the front lines against COVID-19. Thursday afternoon, it donated around 1,000 gallons of it to state agencies through a partnership with the Tennessee Emergency Management Association and the Tennessee Department of Transportation, according to a press release.
The hand sanitizer is stored in five-gallon buckets and will be distributed it to areas in need, according to a press release.
Old Forge Distillery said they followed guidelines from the World Health Organization and the Federal Drug Administration when making the hand sanitizer. It also gave hand sanitizer to nonprofits, hospitals, railways, delivery services and other essential businesses, according to a release from the distillery.
“We saw a need in our communities, and we are on a mission to make a difference,” said Kris Tatum, a co-owner of Old Forge Distillery. “These essential workers are showing up to take care of our roads and deliver supplies to hospitals and healthcare facilities. We want to do our part to help keep them safe.”
The distillery is mostly known for making small-batch spirits. However, it and other local distilleries started making hand sanitizer as the number of COVID-19 cases started to rise.
“The irony here is that during Prohibition, many distilleries became medical dispensaries in times of sickness,” said Keener Stanton, the head distiller at Old Forge Distillery. “I think we’re heeding the call of our ancestors and doing what those who came before us would’ve been proud to see us do.”
The distillery said it plans to continue making hand sanitizer, even after this donation.