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In the wake of the worldwide outbreak of coronavirus, Tamworth Distilling & Mercantile will begin producing, distributing and selling hand sanitizer as soon as all the ingredients come in, according to its director of operations, David Grasse.
Under normal conditions, the distillery located at 15 Cleveland Hill Road makes products like whisky, vodka and gin.
“What we’re going to make is a real (hand) sanitizer,” said Grasse. “We’re using hydrogen peroxide, combined with our high proof spirit and glycerin. The glycerin gels so it stays on your hand and spreads nice and easily.”
He said the glycerin is expected to be delivered this week.
“We will be making about 70 gallons of hand sanitizer,” said Grasse, who said the finished product would be delivered to the Tamworth Community Nurse Association and perhaps another medical facility as well.
Other batches will come if he can get enough glycerin; there needs to be about 20 pounds per batch.
The sanitizer could be delivered to places like the TCNA in 5- gallon buckets with pumps. “The thought was people could bring in their jars and fill them,” said Grasse.
A beer or wine maker cannot make sanitizer because the proof levels of those beverages isn’t high enough. A New Hampshire company would need to hold a state liquor manufacturing permit to make enough high-proof ethanol to produce sanitizer.
“It has to be 60 percent ethanol to be effective,” said Grasse.
The Tamworth Distillery is one of about seven distilleries in New Hampshire. Another is currently under construction in North Conway just south of The Local Grocer.
Grasse said hand sanitizer will also be sold at a reasonable cost at the retail side of the distillery in 16-ounce pump dispensers.
Grasse said making the sanitizer actually makes the distillery more efficient because the “waste” from the distilling process can now be put to good use as a sanitizer ingredient.