Lending A Hand: Local distilleries knock out coronavirus with homemade hand sanitizer

You’ve seen it all on the daily news, Instagram Live, even TikTok — folks clamoring to stock up on everything one could need to hunker down during a pandemic. While we’ve seen many fights over the last roll of TP at Stop & Shop or the final can of black beans at Shaw’s, four local Rhode Island spirit companies are making sure we have one less grocery store brawl as they utilize their resources to provide one lethal weapon in the fight against coronavirus: hand sanitizer!

Sons of Liberty Beer & Spirits Co. in South Kingstown is a staple in the liquor landscape of our lil’ state. What began as community giveaway turned into the company donating more than 900 gallons of hand sanitizer to local businesses and healthcare facilities. Brian Ricard, Sons of Liberty’s marketing director, says that the community response has been great, and other nearby companies and organizations actually stepped up to donate bottles when Sons of Liberty was producing more sanitizer than vessels they could fill!

“We had great assistance from JAVA Skin Care, Berlin Packaging, the International Brotherhood of Police Officers Local 301 in securing supplies and others emailing us with leads,” Ricard says. Folks can get their hands on some of this heartfelt hand sanitzer for pickup online at drinksol.square.site, and businesses should email cleanhands@drinksol.com with quantity requests. Sons of Liberty is also offering a discount to first responders and other healthcare heroes who are doing their part in this trying time.

Industrious Spirit Company in Providence might be fairly new to the neighborhood, but they’ve really made a positive difference in PVD! While their soft opening was foiled by coronavirus social distancing measures, they swung into action immediately, using their distilling equipment to produce hand sanitizer from the World Health Organization’s own recipe — with an eco-friendly local twist.

Manya Rubinstein, Industrious Spirit’s CEO, says “Moving forward, we have partnered with READE Advanced Materials — a specialty chemicals distributor headquartered in East Providence — to expand sanitizer production, and we are now producing sanitizer for the City of Providence, as well as other government agencies, healthcare institutions and non-profits.”

Wanna get your hands on some sanitizer and some homemade vodka? The answer should be a resounding yes — we’re almost a month into stay at home orders and I’ve pretty much watched “Tiger King” five times already! Head over to Industrious Spirit’s “Wish We Could Window,” which is open Monday – Friday from 1 – 4pm at 1 Sims Avenue in Providence, and doles out housemade vodka and sanitizer instead of hugs and handshakes.

Rubinstein adds, “The ‘Wish We Could Window’ is our effort to reach out to our friends and neighbors. We wish we could give you a hug, but since we can’t, we’re going to give you hand sanitizer.” Sounds like a good deal to me!

Grey Sail Brewing Company in Westerly may be known for their beer, but their newest venture, South County Distillers, won’t be getting its start in spirits. The team has diverted all of their distilling resources to produce hand sanitizer for those who work with high-risk populations, local first responders and other organizations in need.

Co-owner Jennifer Brinton says, “The vitality of our community depends on the health and safety of our neighbors. We are all adapting to support each other during these difficult times; Grey Sail is doing the same. Hand sanitizer is disappearing off of shelves and almost impossible to order, yet healthcare workers and those in our service industries still have to work. We want them to stay safe.”

South County Distillers hand sanitizer will be available at the brewery as their production expands, with a suggested donation of $3 per bottle. You can also get their house brewed beer to go for curbside pickup or online order. Save the world and then crack a can of Flying Jenny? Rad.

Newport Craft Brewing & Distilling Co. in Middletown is the latest company to join the effort, and is grateful to be able to provide the sanitizer to Aquidneck Islanders and beyond.

“We are all about the community and doing our part to help in any way we can. Due to us being a distillery as well as a brewery, we have the opportunity and the resources to provide the public and the true heroes on the front lines with this much-needed product during this crisis,” says James Rodrigues, Newport Craft’s Chief Operating Officer. While Newport Craft is not focusing on mass distribution at this time, they are offering the sanitizer to local first responders and community centers, plus complimentary bottles for the general public that can be found at specific pick-up locations in Newport, Rhode Island. Follow @NewportCraft on Instagram to get some of that good good for yourself!

We live in uncertain times, but as the great Mr. Rogers once said, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” That’s definitely true for this quartet of awesome distilleries, doing their part to help Rhode Islanders stay safe as we weather the storm.

Sons of Liberty Beer & Spirits Co.; 1425 Kingstown Rd, South Kingstown; Order online at https://drinksol.square.site; Follow @drinksol on Instagram for community giveaways

Industrious Spirit Company; 1 Sims Avenue, PVD; “Wish We Could Window” open 1 – 4pm, Mon – Fri

Grey Sail Brewing Company & South Coast Distillers; 63 Canal St, Westerly; Beer and sanitizer pickup open Noon – 6pm, Wed – Sun 

Newport Craft Brewing & Distilling Co.; Follow @Newport Craft on Instagram and Newport Craft Brewing & Distilling Co. on Facebook for sanitizer pickup locations!