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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Jul. 31, 2020 2 months ago

Clean living: Booze maker embraces shift to hand sanitizer

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With no sign of pandemic's ebb, St. Petersburg Distillery continues to pump out the high-demand product.

With COVID-19 still spreading rapidly in Florida, Gulf Coast brewers and distillers continue to produce hand sanitizer to keep up with sky-high demand for the product — and generate much-needed revenue at a challenging time for the industry. 

Courtesy. Skip Ragan, St. Petersburg Distillery's senior vice president.

St. Petersburg Distillery — which makes and sells spirits such as Banyan Reserve vodka, Oak & Palm rum, Tippler’s orange liqueur and Old St. Pete gin — has embraced the change like few others.

For starters, it's hired some 50 out-of-work bartenders, musicians and restaurant and service industry professionals to help with packaging, labeling and distribution of hand sanitizer. And as opposed to packaging hand sanitizer in plain containers, the distillery put its branding on the product and offers it in a wide range of sizes, from 1.7-ounce bottles to 1.75-liter vessels and even a five-gallon bucket. One offering comes in a cloth bag that features the distillery’s “The Spirit of Sunshine” tagline. 

A package of 15 1.7-ounce bottles costs $35, while the five-gallon bucket sells for $200. But St. Petersburg Distillery is also giving away hand sanitizer: to date, it has donated more than 100,000 units to local law enforcement agencies, city offices and first responders, according to a press release. 

"We want to make sure that people still have access to clinically proven, regulated sanitizers," says Skip Ragan, the distillery's senior vice president. He tells Coffee Talk that the company's hand sanitizer is made in accordance with strict guidelines published by the World Health Organization and U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "There are some other sanitizers on the market that are methanol based. That's, like, the stuff you clean wood with, and people have been getting sick from it." 

Cognizant of Florida’s status as a coronavirus hotspot, the distillery has begun to offer hand sanitizer at a 50% discount if online shoppers enter a code that can be found on the company’s Facebook and Instagram pages. 

“We will continue our free sanitizer giveaways for individuals through Feeding Tampa Bay and additional charities," Ragan states in the release, "but we felt offering products of all sizes at a deep discount would assist individuals, organizations and companies with their immediate needs to help curve the coronavirus.”

The hand sanitizer products can be purchased at the company’s online store and picked up at the distillery or delivered via mail. 

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