SC Distilleries Turn Alcohol into Hand Sanitizer
Monday, April 27th, 2020
Prisma Health employees recently got more than 8,000 gallons of liquid product from South Carolina farms and distilleries, but it’s to be used for disinfectant – not consumption.
Prisma Health has partnered with Anderson-based Palmetto Distillery and Helena Island-based Seaside Grown to purchase hand sanitizer made from denatured ethanol, which is exactly the same as normal ethanol but contains a small percentage of denaturing agent to make it undrinkable. In late March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave temporary approval for entities not currently regulated as drug manufacturers such as distilleries and farmers to produce hand sanitizer if they followed certain protocols.
“Our S.C. distilleries are providing a product that we can’t get anywhere else, and that’s a major benefit right now,” said Matt Parker, the manager of Consolidated Pharmacy Services at Prisma Health–Upstate.
Chris Powell, manager of Engineering and Supply Chain, Prisma Health–Midlands, who worked with Seaside Grown agrees. He said, “We appreciate the collaboration of South Carolina vendors. It is a testament to how the community is coming together during COVID-19 to make sure that our healthcare team has what they need.”
Palmetto Distillery is best known for its mason-jar moonshine, with flavors such as white lightning, peach and apple pie. Seaside Grown is known for its farm-to-table Bloody Mary mixer.
Palmetto Distillery delivered 5,000 gallons of its hand sanitizer last Friday. Prisma Health plans to put the hand sanitizer into one gallon jugs with pumps that can be used to refill smaller containers as well as fill more than 4,000 one and two ounce personal bottles for staff and guests in the Upstate.
Palmetto Distillery changed over its production three weeks ago as part of the effort to battle COVID-19, said Trey Boggs, one of its owners. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sanitizer requires the use of alcohol at 60% or higher to be effective. Sanitizer produced by the distilleries contain 80% alcohol, making it a suitable disinfectant for healthcare workers and the general public alike.
“Community is at the heart of everything we do. We understand the importance of coming together to help our community in any way possible, especially in times of crisis. We use alcohol from the still as sanitizer around the distillery on a daily basis, so when there became a dire need for the product, we knew we had an obligation to help our neighbors,” Boggs said.
While Palmetto has been selling one-gallon jugs by preorder, it delivered its supply to Prisma Health Friday via 55-gallon containers.
Meanwhile, Seaside Grown, a subsidiary of a more-than-100-year-old family farm on St. Helena Island, delivered 3,000 gallons of sanitizer a month ago via 9,500 16-ounce bottles, 1,500 spray bottles, 300 five gallon buckets and 60 55-gallon drums of the sanitizer, said Ross Taylor, founder of Seaside Grown.
Seaside Grown had been making about 8,000 gallons of hand sanitizer each week for other companies but focused completely on Prisma Health’s order to make sure it was filled.
“This is about us trying to help each other right now,” Taylor said. “When Prisma Health called, they became our number one focus.”