In just five days Steve Shriver, the founder of beauty brand Eco Lips, saw that his community had a shortage of hand sanitizer and decided to find a solution. With the recent outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19), hand sanitizer has become a coveted household item, seemingly disappearing off the shelves as soon as they are restocked. Coinciding with the World Health Organization’s announcement on January 30, 2020 declaring that the outbreak was a “public health emergency of international concern,” sales grew exponentially. The NPD Group reported that hand sanitizer sales grew by 67 percent in the four weeks ending February 22, 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Prioritizing health and safety is crucial during these uncertain times and while washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, hand sanitizer is a top alternative, especially if you are unable to wash your hands immediately after a cough or sneeze.
With disinfectant wipes, spray, and gel becoming increasingly more difficult to find in stock, Shriver took it as his responsibility to help his community in any way possible. Shriver teamed up with Dr. Ryan Sundermann and Cedar Ridge Distillery to make 1,000 four-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer. Prior to the pandemic, it was a federal offense for a distillery to use their alcohol for this purpose but over the past few weeks there have been several distilleries offering to help their communities in this way, and federal officials have made sure the distilleries are legally abiding by all of the appropriate regulations. For instance, the World Health Organization requires hand sanitizer to be made using 190 proof or above alcohol.
Shriver and his team set up a pop-up drive-through at NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and handed out all 1,000 bottles of homemade hand sanitizer to the public. While wearing face masks and gloves, the line of cars moved steadily and there was minimum human congestion and contact. Shriver says that he plans on continuing to provide hand sanitizer for as long as there is a shortage and will be prioritizing people who are completely depleted of sanitizer. Stay updated on future locations here.
Other distilleries who have started making and distributing hand sanitizer include Old Fourth Distillery in Atlanta, Georgia, Moonrise Distillery in Clayton, Georgia, and Smooth Ambler Distillery in Maxwelton, West Virginia.