Whiskey, beer sites to the rescue

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Northwest Iowa businesses team up to address the shortage of hand sanitizer

Century Farms Distillery of Spencer and West O Beer of West Okoboji have joined together in hopes of helping local citizens combat the COVID-19 virus. According to public health authorities, washing hands frequently and using hand sanitizer can help families protect themselves from spreading the virus.

Both companies will be prepared to take your container, step away to the filling station and then return the container with 4 ounces of hand sanitizer, free of charge. Monday, March 23, from 4-6 p.m. — Century Farms Distillery, at 2304 Highway Blvd. will offer the product and from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, people can pick it up at West O Beer, 503 Terrace Park Blvd. in West Okoboji.

Amanda Bare, co-owner of Century Farms Distillery, commented on the shortage.

“It is remarkable how our community has been turned upside down," Bare said. "In terms of hand sanitizer, some local retailers have been out for weeks, only to find their shelves empty again a short time after they restock.”

The team of local small businesses, through research and several trials with different ingredients, have found an answer, using denatured, un-aged corn whiskey mixed with xanthan gum, essential oils and coloring to make their hand sanitizer. The product will meet the minimum recommendation of 60% alcohol by volume by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Michaela Matthiesen, co-owner of West O Beer, said the two companies are happy to be able to help.

“After over a week of feeling helpless, this is something both businesses can focus on and help out with,” she said.

Because there is also a shortage of small dispensers, and in order to keep their costs low, they ask for individuals in need to bring their own container to fill or refill. They will initially be offering a limit of 4 ounces per person or family.

Additional distribution dates will be announced.

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