Caledonia Spirits is on its Way to Leading the Effort to Equip Vermont with Hand-Sanitizer
Below is an update from Caledonia Spirits:
How this got started:
1. Small distilleries like Barr Hill are wondering how we’re going to get through this now that restaurants and bars have closed. We sent our entire team home last week but have continued to keep everyone on payroll with full benefits.
2. Making hand sanitizer started out as a fun exercise a couple weeks ago, just to provide some juniper-scented hand sanitizer to our team. But that was before the word pandemic started being used to describe COVID-19.
3. Last week we made a batch for the Vermont Foodbank and we could see how dire the need was. So, we started to put together a plan to make more. We asked ourselves, Can we keep our team working, employed, all while providing hand sanitizer to those who need it?
4. We reached out to the state of Vermont to see if our services were needed and we got an immediate response. The state is reimbursing us for the cost of the hand sanitizer while we produce 1,500 units for Vermont first responders. Now we are seeing how many hospitals would be willing to partner with us, as well.
Where we are as of today:
1. Barr Hill just took a HUGE risk and extended full pay and benefits for all its employees at least through April 5th, at a time when it seems every business around us is cutting hours and staff. By April 5th, our team will have been home for more than three weeks. Why are we doing this? 1. We are a #ginfamily and we put our people first. 2. Because we need our staff when we get through this to continue to make the best tasting gin and cocktails. And, 3. WE AREN’T GIVING UP- we believe in our team’s ability to innovate through COVID-19, to transition a large portion of our business to provide hand sanitizer for healthcare professionals.
2. Barr Hill is trying to lead the effort to equip Vermont (and potentially the region) with hand sanitizer. The gist here is that we plan to provide large volumes of hand sanitizer to the UVM Health Network, Vermont state offices, first responders, and other brave people on the front lines of this thing who are providing critical functions. Our goal here is to sell our hand sanitizer at cost so we can provide as much as possible to those in need AND so that we can continue to employ our staff and not send them into an indefinitely long period of hardship. What makes us unique from the other distilleries is that we could have laid off our staff, but instead we kept them employed so that we could accomplish something bigger than us and make a difference. Also, we are the largest distillery in New England, so we have an opportunity and a responsibility to act.
3. Starting today (Tues), we are offering on our online store the opportunity for our fans to “Give the Gift of Clean Hands.” You can go on our web site and shop for a 4oz bottle, or larger sizes (all the way up to a 55-gallon drum for $5,500). Although our hand sanitizer isn’t available to the general public, when you make this purchase, we deliver the hand sanitizer free of charge to a first responder, nurse, doctor, or healthcare system.
4. Lastly, we are fielding hundreds of inquiries from hospitals, cities, towns, businesses, and states asking for hand sanitizer. We are working as quickly as we can to make the hand sanitizer so we can fill these orders.
5. Raw materials for the hand sanitizer (except for the alcohol, of course) are hard to find. This is a major threat to our plan, but we are thinking creatively and are finding solutions.