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Not all distillers have given up on sanitizer. Matt Allen, co-owner of Dark Door Spirits in Tampa, Florida, said he also began making sanitizer in the spring and has sold and given away at least 20,000 gallons to eight cities, 16 counties, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Postal Service.

When demand declined, he began working to lock in contracts with local hospitals to buy a guaranteed amount of product going forward.

“We just need some sort of gauge of long-term commitment,” Allen said.

McDaniel’s St. Augustine Distillery, which opened in 2014, is known for its Florida cane vodka, rum made from Florida molasses and a variety of bourbons, which are aged for three or more years. One of the state’s larger craft distilleries, it has attracted tens of thousands of tourists every year to its headquarters, which once housed an ice manufacturing plant.

The business, which initially lost money, has been profitable since the bourbon finished aging nearly four years ago, McDaniel said. But when the pandemic hit, the packed tasting room and tours became just a memory. In April, McDaniel slashed advertising and furloughed about 15 of his more than 45 employees.

“It’s terrifying,” he said.

McDaniel said his sanitizer made enough to cover the cost of what he donated and a little more. In June, when demand dropped off, he stopped making it.

St. Augustine Distillery is now producing bourbon again — but it is seeing only half its normal amount of liquor sales.

“At the end of the day, our core business is making really great alcohol,” McDaniel said. “To be able to get back to business and have demand for that and to sell it profitably is what we’re all looking for right now.”

Source: Sacramento Business Journal