Whether you're searching for where to find sanitizer or how to make sanitizer at home, it's safe to say there's a shortage. While we have been working extremely hard to restock our moisturizing hand sanitizer, we felt it was our duty to get in stock hand sanitizer available on our website to buy online. By leveraging FDA regulations, World Health Organization guidelines, and pulling together local business all looking to do their part, we were able to pull it off.
Coronavirus Sanitizer Shortage and the FDA Regulation Change
Empty shelves. No Sanitizer. From people product-hoarding to price-gouging, the sanitizer industry was completely shaken from the pandemic. Not enough manufacturers, not enough alcohol, not enough components to bottle - not enough anything really. The whole industry supply drained, all within the matter of about two weeks.
As soon as the pandemic hit, large manufacturers, government and health contracts, and institutions all needing sanitizer crippled consumer ability to get their hands on product. It got bad enough for the FDA to issue a ruling, which temporarily deregulates sanitizer production under specific guidelines.
Here's how sanitizer is typically regulated:
- Sanitizer is an OTC drug product, as alcohol is an active ingredient.
- Under normal conditions, to manufacture sanitizer, you must be an FDA regulated facility, which requires a lot of overhead and consistent testing.
With the coronavirus pandemic and sanitizer shortage, FDA had to figure out how to bring production to a local scale and allow the industries supply chain to breath. The ruling was as follows: Manufacturers registered with FDA (ie distilleries), can produce an unaltered version of the World Health Organization Formula. Since the FDA can't test every local manufacture of sanitizer, they mandate that local manufactures must use this formula to reduce risk of evaporated alcohol, contamination, etc.
A few notes on the formula:
- 80% Alcohol + Hydrogen peroxide mix. This is a very high alcohol content and strong mix meant to reduce risk of contamination. If you have fragile hands, this may not be for you.
- Unscented The FDA does not allow production of the formula with any additives such as scents, oils, or vitamins.
- Spray Since gel requires a thickening agent which was also in shortage during the pandemic, the WHO formula is made to be a spray.
Partnering With Ohio Distillery to Make Hand Sanitizer
Once we knew that we could make distillery hand sanitizer, we knew we had to do it, even if it is much more abrasive than our normal product. While we agree soft and silky is much better than dry and sticky, beggars can't be choosers sometimes, right?
When we started searching, we were already late to the party! Distilleries like Cleveland Whisky were already manufacturing mass quantities of sanitizer for places like the Cleveland Clinic. Most of the distilleries didn't have bandwidth to make extra product. Enter Northern Row Distillery, who had already converted their facilities for sanitizer and had room to bring us on.
Situated in Cincinnati's historic Over-the-Rhine Brewery District, Northern Row Brewery and Distillery occupies a notable pre-prohibition building, constructed in 1895. Getting ready for their grand opening, they had to shift quickly as the state stay at home order came into effect - and they knew what they had to do.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the American Distillers Institute asked that craft distilleries across the country help to begin the production of much needed Hand Sanitizer for our communities. The mobilization by these often small but resourceful companies has been tremendous, as we pivot from producing one of lifes’ great pleasures, to producing something absolutely essential that is needed in the fight of this terrible virus.
Northern Row made the decision to temporarily suspend spirit production and begin production of an alcohol based hand sanitizer. So, we funded some production, and got going on getting our customers sanitizer they could buy online.
Masks Meet Sanitizer in Care Packages.
Collaborating With Cleveland Clothing Brand ILTHY to make a statement.
Meanwhile Shultz was sourcing sanitizer, Cleveland clothing brand ILTHY was making its own efforts to help the community fight the pandemic by creating masks. We noticed each other's efforts, and decided to team up on creating a collectable care package kit, complete with sanitizers and a mask.
In this kit, we featured a custom design that Glen Infante, ILTHY's artist and owner, created. While we both had emergency sanitizer and masks available in bulk on our sites respectively, the collaboration of fusing the two into a limited edition kit was to make a statement we think will ring true for years to come - Clean is Cool.