Updated April 2, 4:01 p.m.
Whitmeyer’s Distilling Co. donated 6,100 gallons of distillery-made hand sanitizer to Texas Children’s Hospital on April 2 via trucks provided by Harris County Precinct 4. The distillery began producing hand sanitizer after normal alcohol production was shut down March 17 following a countywide mandate closing restaurant dining rooms, bars and other businesses, to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
The distillery will continue to distribute free 32-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer Mon.-Sat., from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., until further notice and hand sanitizer is limited one per household. Organizations interested in purchasing hand sanitizer in bulk quantities are encouraged to email [email protected] for further information.
Posted March 30, 5:24 p.m.
Houston-based Whitmeyer’s Distilling Co. is putting away the whiskey barrels and switching to hand sanitizer in response to a communitywide demand caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“This is crazy to me, this is just insane,” distillery co-owner Travis Whitmeyer said. “I never in a million years imagined this, but ... we're doing nothing but batching, filling and producing the stuff.”
At 10 a.m. on March 31, the distillery will be distributing 32-ounce bottles of house-made hand sanitizer to local residents free of charge. Bottles will be limited to one bottle per household, and the distribution will take place at the Whitmeyer’s Distilling Co. facility located in the Champions area just off FM 1960 at 16711 Hollister St., Ste. I, Houston. Organizations interested in purchasing hand sanitizer in bulk quantities are encouraged to email [email protected] for further information.
Whitmeyer’s Distilling Co. was shut down following a March 19 executive order from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott closing down restaurant dining rooms, bars and other businesses. According to Whitmeyer, the decision to produce hand sanitizer allowed the distillery to continue employing their workers and provide a needed resource for the community.
“The idea of doing [hand] sanitizer gave us a way to keep the lights on, keep our people working,” Whitmeyer said. “Initially, we had a number of hospitals, first responders, and on and on, approaching us to do hand sanitizer for them, and I'm like, 'Okay, well, we make whiskey, hand sanitizer, ... we can knock that out.'”
Whitmeyer said the distillery was able to quickly make the necessary preparations for manufacturing hand sanitizer, including acquiring necessary equipment, materials and even hiring 20 former bar industry employees who were recently put out of work due to the recent closures.
“Remarkably, inside of 10 days, we got completely retooled; we staffed; we secured the funding, the resources, the raw materials, the regulatory red tape ... and we're sitting right now, prepped to release 3,070,000 ounces of this stuff by end of next week in the Houston area,” Whitmeyer said. “I imagine that number's going to grow.”
Whitmeyer’s Distilling Co. is also leaning on other partners to help manufacture the large supply of hand sanitizer. Monarch Sign & Graphics, a local sign shop off FM 1960, produces the bottle labels; Global Healing Center, a health and wellness company, provides raw materials for the product; and Persedo Spirits, an Alvin-based distilling equipment provider, helps to produce the necessary ethanol.
Whitmeyer said he plans for the distillery to continue manufacturing the hand sanitizer for as long as it is needed in the community.
"We're just trying to do everything we can to keep our community healthy,” Whitmeyer said. “We're pretty overloaded right now, which is a good thing. We're happy to do it.”