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Holland-area distillery making alcohol-based hand sanitizer for hospitals and healthcare providers

Coppercraft Distillery will make around 10,000 gallons of the sanitizer.

HOLLAND, Mich — A lakeshore distillery has announced it will produce an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and donate it to hospitals and healthcare providers combating the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Coppercraft Distillery, located on 120th Avenue in Holland Township, committed to making approximately 10,000 gallons of sanitizer, as local providers deal with shortages.

The sanitizer is "comprised primarily of glycerol and a 96 percent ABV-neutral grain spirit," according to a release. It will comply with guidelines from the World Health Organization, which require a 60 percent alcohol minimum. 

"We're gonna run about 800 gallons per batch," Production Manager Shaun McLarty said. "We'll test it to make sure we're within the standards...and get another batch started right away" 

The move was modeled after other distilleries, said Brian Mucci, CEO of Coppercraft Distillery

"Times of crisis require each of us to determine how we can use our work for good,” Mucci said. “This is an opportunity to step into a need and assist our community, and we are honored to do so in such a practical way."

The World Health Organization provided the formula, which will result in a sanitizer that contains around 80 percent alcohol. Coppercraft says the product will be ready for distribution early next week.

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The distillery's distributor will donate trucks and drivers to deliver. Holland Hospital is a major focus of the donations. 

"As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop, we have been inspired by numerous stories of people lending a hand to assist one another," Mucci said in the release. "This is one way our team can express gratitude for all front-line healthcare workers during this exceptional time."

The need for effective, safe hand sanitizer is critical across the country right now, said Rob Schwartz, Vice President of Quality, IT, HIM, and Risk at Holland Hospital.

Holland Hospital is going through around 15-20 gallons of hand sanitizer per week. That's around quadruple the typical usage, Schwartz said. 

"We are so appreciative of companies like Coppercraft Distillery who are choosing to rally behind us and show their support in unique and creative ways,” he said. 

On Thursday evening, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that rules for distilleries would be relaxed through June 30, 2020, to allow them to produce ethanol-based hand sanitizers. 

“Even in times of crisis, Michiganders have shown their willingness to step up and help each other,” said Governor Whitmer. “I am profoundly grateful for the Michigan distilleries who are putting people before profit and are using their production facilities to make hand sanitizer during this COVID-19 emergency.”

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