Sagamore Spirit to Produce Hand Sanitizer for Maryland Healthcare Providers

| March 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

Port Covington’s rye whiskey distillery Sagamore Spirit is nearing the start of production of large quantities of antimicrobial hand sanitizer to help meet the needs of healthcare workers and first responders during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Sagamore Spirit has the materials to manufacture an initial batch of 54,000 liters of hand sanitizer.

Johns Hopkins has been advising the company on manufacturing the sanitizer to meet WHO and FDA standards for safety and efficacy.

In a press release, Sagamore Spirit said: “First, Sagamore Spirit needs to procure packaging that became in short supply once COVID-19’s potential domestic impact was realized. Next, Congress needs to temporarily waive an arcane statute during this healthcare crisis that requires the use of isopropyl alcohol for denaturing, which the WHO deems unnecessary to manufacture safe and effective hand sanitizer. Sagamore Spirit has procured enough isopropyl alcohol to produce the initial 54,000-liter run, but since it is in short supply, the distiller’s ability to expand to the potential 100,000-liter monthly production level entirely depends on Congress’s willingness to waive the denaturing requirement.”

“There is no higher priority than serving the growing and vital needs of the health professionals who are selflessly giving of themselves for the greater good of all,” said Brian Treacy, president of Sagamore Spirit, in a press release. “Everyone at Sagamore Spirit feels it in their hearts and is prepared to contribute to this global effort the best they possibly can. We feel fortunate to have not only the will, but also the expertise and manufacturing capacity to make a difference, and at a meaningful level if Congress chooses to act.”

Treacy noted the company was following in the spirit and example of its Baltimore distilling predecessors, which rose to the challenge of World War II by becoming one of the nation’s major supplies of vital ethanol.

Sagamore Spirit is urging the community to support the efforts of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) to waive the punitive federal excise taxes on undenatured alcohol used to produce hand sanitizer and disinfectant sprays. 

More information about helping this effort can be found here.

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