Dogfish Head to produce hand sanitizer for State of Delaware

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Photo: Dogfish Head

The State of Delaware and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery are partnering to make more, much-needed hand sanitizer available to the state government.

It’s becoming a familiar look around the world, empty shelves, and lack of much needed supplies that have gone out of stock such as hand sanitizer, water, and over the counter medicines. Let alone the N95 respirator masks, medical gloves, gowns, and suits.

Milton (DE): Dogfish Head, one of Delaware’s best-known businesses, began distilling spirits in Delaware in 2002 and has now committed part of its operations to also make hand sanitizer. As it ramps up that production, the company will be providing bulk shipments of the sanitizer to the state in the weeks to come.

“Dogfish Head is one of Delaware’s great small business success stories,” Governor John Carney said. “It’s great to see this nationally known company, with its roots in Delaware, step up in a time of such significant need to provide this vital product and assist Delaware restaurant workers who’ve been affected so significantly by the Coronavirus outbreak.”

Dogfish Head will sell the sanitizer to the state of Delaware at market price, and 100% of the profits will go into a fund to support Delawareans affected by the Coronavirus.

“I never thought Dogfish Head would be in the sanitizer business. But this is a time of crisis, and necessity is the mother of invention,” said Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head. “It is our duty to do what we can to keep as many people safe and healthy in our community.”

At this time, Dogfish Head has dedicated its sanitizer inventory to fulfilling critical needs of the state, including providing the product to healthcare facilities and first responders.

While the Dogfish production brewery and distillery remain open in Milton, Calagione has closed Dogfish Head Inn, Dogfish Head Brewing & Eats, Chesapeake & Maine and the brewery’s Tasting Room & Kitchen.

Dogsish Head isn’t the first one to switch production to hand sanitizers. On a normal day at Santa Ana’s Blinkin Owl, Robin Christenson would be overseeing the production of “Carraway-tinged aquavit and vodka flavored with Valencia oranges.” But nothing is normal these days. With bars and restaurants mostly closed due to the coronavirus, distilleries don’t have clients to buy their alcohol. Now a handful have stopped producing liquor — and started producing hand sanitizer. Christenson, expects the first bottles of hand sanitizer to leave the company’s 6,500-square-foot facility in late March or early April.

“A couple weeks ago, we saw the Purell shortage and we started looking into the regulations for [making] it,” Christenson says. “We already had some high proof spirit that was ready to be made into vodka but we decided to put that toward hand sanitizer.”

On Thursday, March 12, Governor Carney issued a State of Emergency declaration to mobilize state resources to prepare for the spread of coronavirus across Delaware. On Monday, March 16, he updated that order to require restaurants, taverns and bars move to take-out and delivery service only.

Delawareans with questions about COVID-19 or their exposure risk can call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-408-1899 or 711 for people who are hearing impaired from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, or email DPHCall@delaware.gov. For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to de.gov/coronavirus.

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