Falls Church Distillers to Make Hand Sanitizer
The local spirits maker is switching gears and tackling supply shortages amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Update: Falls Church Distillers distributed 1,000 free portions of its hand sanitizer (5 oz. each), totaling 300 gallons, in a span of 4 hours Friday night before it ran out. Owner Michael Paluzzi says they are back in production now and aiming to offer another distribution this Thursday, March 26. Check the distillery’s Facebook page for the latest.
Hand sanitizer out of stock at your local supermarket? Falls Church Distillers is leveraging its expertise, facilities and a familiar ingredient—190-proof corn whiskey—to make its own homegrown version for public distribution. If all goes as planned, the family-owned business will be dispensing about 300 gallons of the product this weekend to customers who bring their own containers. It intends to offer portions of up to 5 ounces for free, while gallon-size shares will likely be sold for $30 or less.
Owner Michael Paluzzi says the distillery is waging the effort as a “lemons to lemonade” response to the COVID-19 epidemic. “We’re currently seeing hand sanitizer selling for $45 per gallon and up [online], with an April delivery,” he says. “We can deliver now.”
The distillery’s product will be comprised of 70% alcohol, along with glycerin and doTERRA On Guard, a botanical blend of essential oils that claims to have immune-boosting properties. Paluzzi is calling it “Aim High Sanitizer”—a nod to the U.S. Air Force motto. “We are a three-generation Air Force family,” he says. “We’re going to attack this problem like we are the military.”
Distribution is set to take place from a parking lot tent in front of the distillery (442 S. Washington Street, Falls Church) from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and from noon to 5 on Saturday, where staff and volunteers will dispense portions of hand sanitizer from a 300-gallon beverage tote on wheels.
Rachel Abbett, an integrative nutrition health coach with Falls Church-based EKOE Health, will also be on site and available to answer questions about doTERRA essential oils, as well as nutritional health and ways to avoid becoming sedentary while adhering to the recommended guidelines for social distancing.
One caveat: “We are still waiting for shipments [of glycerin and other ingredients] to arrive,” Paluzzi says. “Once we have everything in stock, we’ll have product available to the public in 24 hours. We just have to make sure everything comes in.” Check the company’s Facebook page for updates.
What about booze? The distillery’s restaurant and bar are closed, but Paluzzi says its on-site ABC store remains open for business (credit card sales only—no cash) for patrons who may also feel compelled to stock up on locally made bourbon, whiskey, gin, apple brandy and flavor-infused vodkas. “If people are going to venture into the wild, we’re trying to offer them as much as we can in a single outing.”