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LAKEWOOD, Ohio (WJW)– Western Reserve Distillers located at 14221 Madison Ave in Lakewood is joining the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Owners and Master Distiller Kevin Thomas and his wife, Ann, have begun the process of using their all-organic distillery to make CDC and World Health Organization approved hand sanitizer.

“It’s gonna be hand sanitizer that’s produced with certified organic spirit,” said Kevin Thomas. “After we produce the mash, after fermentation we use the pot still to basically separate and concentrate the alcohol to get us to the 196-proof that we need to make the hand sanitizer.” 

As soon as people learned of their efforts they say their phones began ringing off the hook.  Everyone from hospitals to nursing homes and postal branches are interested in getting some as soon as possible.

However, the first batch won’t be ready until April 3.

They’re using local grains from local farmers and the same distilling process used to create their premium vodka

Ann says they will be selling it by the gallon, because the distillery isn’t outfitted for smaller bottles, and they want to get as much of the product out to the public as quickly as possible.

The cost is $25 per gallon bottle, which just covers their costs and taxes.

Both Kevin and Ann say it’s not about money, but doing their part to help others.
The business just opened two years ago, and has been virtually shut down by the pandemic and Governor Mike DeWine’s order which closed bars and restaurants across the state of Ohio to slow down the spread of the virus.

However, the small, family-run business is still selling bottles of organic, handcrafted gin, rum, bourbon and other spirits from the distillery bar, with curbside delivery.

The hand sanitizer must be preordered through their Eventbrite page, because the business was not previously set up for e-commerce.

Customers will get a ticket from Eventbrite that they must bring on that date to the distillery’s back parking lot on Ferndale, where they will receive the hand sanitizer. Kevin says they will be making 1,500 to 2,000 gallons per month through June 30, per government guidelines.

For more information on the business, click here.