Distillery Pivots to Hand Sanitizer Production
In a vivid sign of the times, proprietor and master distiller Aaron Bergh (Agriculture and Environmental Plant Sciences, '15) of Calwise Spirits Co. has suddenly found himself producing a uniquely different product for an entirely new clientele—first responders, government agencies and charities who are in desperate need of bulk hand sanitizer.
“It concerns me that our community servants don’t have sufficient sanitizer at a time when they need it more than ever,” said Bergh, who is known for producing craft gins and rums at his distillery in south Paso Robles. “I realized that my equipment and supply chain expertise could help out these everyday heroes as they work tirelessly to keep us safe.”
I realized that my equipment and supply chain expertise could help out these everyday heroes as they work tirelessly to keep us safe.
AGRICULTURE AND ENVIRONMENTAL PLANT SCIENCES , '15
In a short amount of time, Bergh has started supplying bulk hand sanitizer to the Templeton Fire Department, San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority, the Camarillo Police Department, 40 Prado Road Homeless Services Center, SLO Food Bank and others.
Most sobering was a call he received from the F.B.I. field office in Los Angeles. “They have agents out in the field as part of the COVID-19 response team, and they are running out of hand sanitizer,” Bergh said. “This sanitizer is going to make a huge difference in keeping them and the public safe.”
According to Bergh, the FDA has given distilleries the authority to produce sanitizer in accordance with World Health Organization standards. “As far as I know, this has never happened in the United States, it’s totally unprecedented,” he said.
Bergh’s sanitizer is made with three key ingredients: glycerin, hydrogen peroxide and ethanol alcohol typically used for making spirits.
First responders, government agencies and charities in need of hand sanitizer may also contact Bergh at (805) 443-9226 or firstname.lastname@example.org. His current pricing—based on existing supply costs—is $15 per gallon.