On Thursday, March 19, Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) in paving the way for licensed distilleries to produce ethanol-based hand sanitizer. Journeyman Distillery started bottling sanitizer that same day. “There was no question about what we would do,” said Journeyman founder, Bill Welter.
The distillery’s popular restaurant and tasting room had been shut down just days earlier, the result of an Executive Order temporarily closing bars and limiting restaurants to delivery and carry-out. Spirit production could have continued, but Journeyman has a history of philanthropy and civic engagement that goes back nearly a century.
Saturday March 21st, Journeyman gave away 400 bottles of hand sanitizer to the public during a fundraising bottle sale. Nearly $13,000 was raised for a newly established Hourly Employee Fund and requests for bulk hand sanitizer started rolling in. By the end of the day a website and online store was launched to help fulfill requests—currently numbering in the hundreds.
The response has been, at times, overwhelming for the 10-year-old craft distillery located in tiny Three Oaks, MI; but Welter is committed to doing whatever needs to be done. “It’s been a challenge but we’re proud to be here—for our customers, employees, and community.”
Journeyman is leveraging their state-of-the-art facility, existing supply chain, production expertise, and distribution network to meet demand. Orders of bulk hand sanitizer—from 1.75 liter bottles to 55 gallon barrels—are now being accepted. Details, FAQs, and online ordering options are available at journeymandistillery.com/sanitizer.
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