Local Distiller Joins Coalition To Produce Hand Sanitizer (BBJ Story)
Like so many business owners across the U.S., Reed Walker had to furlough his employees in mid-March amid slowing sales and new restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus. Walker, the co-founder of Cotton & Reed Distillery in Washington, D.C., temporarily shut down the craft rum company and let go all 17 employees on March 16.
Just a few weeks later, a new project offered an opportunity to bring them all back to work. Cotton & Reed is one of several craft distillers in the region to join the American Independent Distillery Cooperative, a coalition of businesses that have banded together to produce and sell hand sanitizer. Other local cooperative members include Baltimore’s Old Line Spirits, Frederick’s McClintock Distilling and the Virginia Distilling Co. They’re not the only ones that have pivoted to hand sanitizer production. Distilleries around the country, from locals like Sagamore Spirit and Baltimore Spirits Co. to big brands like Bacardi and Tito’s Handmade Vodka, have all been working to make sanitizer to meet rising demand.