This story was originally published in the print edition of The Review on March 27. It was republished online on Friday, April 3, 2020.
Here to help
It turned out to be last call for gin, whiskey and vodka at Bainbridge Organic Distillers this week.
For a month at least.
The mid-sized distillery, located in the Coppertop business park diverted its production of vodka, gin and whiskey to making hand sanitizer instead.
Distillery owner Keith Barnes said the company’s grain grower in Walla Walla County donated 26,000 pounds of grain to kick off the project. The grain — corn — arrived in large, one-ton bags.
Barnes said Bainbridge Organic Distillers expects to produce at least 100 gallons of hand sanitizer per week that will distributed to hospitals, medical facilities, first responders, and the military.
“The majority of what we are making are in five-gallon buckets,” Barnes said.
That will be sent to hospitals and clinics, as well as the Navy’s submarine base in Bangor, and the Bainbridge Island Fire Department.
In the near future, Bainbridge Organic Distillers hopes to being packaging hand sanitizer in small bottles for the general public.
“We’re scrambling to line up enough bottles to do some of it in smaller sizes,” he explained.
It will take four days to produce three batches of sanitizer. And once larger distilleries start producing hand sanitizer, Barnes said his distillery may shift back to making spirits.
“Obviously, we didn’t get into this business to make hand sanitizer. It’s a crisis situation, and having the ability to do it is great,” he said.