By David Knox
Don’t drink Jack Daniel’s latest product. It’s potent, but it’s not potable.
The world-famous Lynchburg distillery stepped up to fill a desperate need when it converted its operations from making whiskey to producing hand sanitizer.
Larry Combs, general manager, Jack Daniel Distillery, said they began manufacturing the hand sanitizer the first week of March.
With the sanitizer in such short supply, originally the distillery began making it for the employees.
“Internally, to make sure we had enough for all of our employees and their families, we produced and bottled by hand about 40,000 bottles so far,” Combs said. “And that was primarily to supply our employees as well as support both Moore County and middle Tennessee and all the way down to Huntsville.”
Donations were made to hospitals, First Responders such as police and fire departments, nursing homes, and so forth.
Jack Daniel’s isn’t exactly set up to mass produce hand sanitizer – the active ingredients which include 80% ethanol, 3% hydrogen peroxide and less than 1% glycerin as a moisturizing agent — so the distiller partnered with a couple of companies to take Jack’s ethanol and start mass production. “At the rate we’re shipping right now, it’s enough to produce about 40 million bottles of hand sanitizer a month between the two companies.”
A key to being able to shift gears so smoothly was the recent expansion, completed last year, which was built with future production in mind.
“That’s one of the things that we thought we could do, in addition to making it and bottling it on site (free of cost) for our employees and the town and surrounding counties,” Combs said. “And we did that below cost.”
As long as the need is there, Jack Daniel’s will keep turning out hand sanitizer.
“Right now, we are planning through the end of July,” Combs said.