Wichita brewer uses production facility to bottle hand sanitizer for first responders

KSN Digital Extra

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Hand sanitizer, normally considered a first-world luxury, is now a life-saving commodity. Across the nation, large and small purveyors of beers and spirits are doing what they can to aid in the fight against coronavirus. One Wichita business is doing their part, one half-gallon jug at a time. 

“Today we’re bottling 1,500 half-gallon jugs of hand sanitizer for Sedgwick County Sheriff, Fire, and EMS,” said Jeremy Horn, co-owner of Wichita Brewing Company.

His staff and volunteers have converted the use of the production facility used to create WBC’s notable craft beers to make and bottle hand sanitizer for Wichita first responders and a few health facilities running short on the ethanol-based product. 

“The process started actually a couple weeks ago,” Horn told KSN. “The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office reached out to us asking if we could make hand sanitizer for them. I told him that we have the capability of doing it but not the licensing.”

With the help of the Kansas Craft Brewers Guild, Horn reached out to Alcoholic Beverage Control in Topeka to issue an order allowing Kansas microbreweries, farm wineries, and distilleries to make hand sanitizer without the required licensing during a time of crisis. They were rapidly approved under the condition the product is only sold in Kansas to health care facilities, first responders and entities of that nature.

“The need is critical for hand sanitizer. We’ve had dozens and dozens of requests, not only from Sedgwick County and their large order but, a few gallons here and there to clinics and dentists offices all over the city. Maize Police Department. Newton Police Department. The VA hospital,” the co-owner mentioned.

Horn said that during such difficult times, it makes him and his crew feel good knowing they’re doing something positive.

“There’s just so much bad news out there right now, you know. People being laid off, being stuck at home,” Jeremy said. “Just everything that’s going on, it’s nice to have a project that is a positive thing and it makes us feel good, and I think that’s important right now. 

Wichita Brewing Company expects to complete the first order of about 1500 bottles for delivery Thursday morning to Sedgwick County offices for distribution. The company also says they’re prepping to make a second order, and a third if there is still a need. 

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