A nation-wide shortage of hand sanitizer due to COVID-19 prompted Falls Church Distillers to change their alcohol production practices to meet local demand.
Now months later, the distillery not only managed to boost production of its Aim High Sanitizer by expanding its facility and workforce but also developed a health guide to help community businesses implement new “best practices” issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The distillery can produce roughly 2,000 gallons of hand sanitizer on a weekly basis, but the distillery’s owner Michael Paluzzi said that a shortage of containers — not ingredients and the production facility — limit their operations, especially for smaller 6 and 8 oz. bottles.
Staff use “whatever we can get our hands on,” Paluzzi said, adding that they usually order from various wholesalers each day because of purchase caps imposed by the high demand.
For front line workers, homeless shelters, various charities and restaurants, the distillery sells larger quantities, like 5-gallon buckets, of the sanitizer, spokesperson Meghan Morgan said.
For people with specific requests, Morgan said that the distillery can slightly alter the sanitizer for people who want various scents like lavender or eucalyptus, which cut the plain “vodka-like scent.”
Right now, Paluzzi said that their priority is helping to supply businesses and restaurants with hand sanitizer so they’re able to reopen safely.
“We have a lot of retail that are reaching out to us now — a lot of recreation centers, gyms, dental offices and all kinds of surgical centers,” Morgan said, adding that the distillery has also been in touch with the U.S. Postal Service.
For individuals interested in picking up hand sanitizer, to-go food and drink or bottles of liquor, they can visit Falls Church Distillers (442 S. Washington Street) Thursday-Sunday from noon to 7 p.m.
Regarding the community health guide, Paluzzi said that it is an evolving document that takes into consideration best practices and new information from the CDC to keep both workers and guests safe.
Throughout the four weeks it took to compile the document, Morgan said that they consulted the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce and the Fairfax County Health Department.
“We’ve gone out of our way with qualified individuals, including Dr. Kallie Stavros on our staff, to take the CDC guidance and Fairfax County guidance to create a living document of sorts that we will continue to mature over time,” Paluzzi said, adding that is is available for free to any retailer who asks.
Photo courtesy Falls Church Distillers
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