GALION — The owners of the Iron Vault Distillery have taken it upon themselves to help others during these uncertain times by making much needed hand sanitizer for people in the community.
John Bassett, one of the owners of the distillery at 134 Harding Way West, said they normally make vodka, gin, moonshine, white rum, aged rum, bourbon and a couple other specialty drinks. However, within the past two weeks they have also taken to making the difficult to find hand sanitizer.
“I would say about 90 percent of our business now is making hand sanitizer,” Bassett explained. “About six months ago my son visited, and he said we really should make hand sanitizer. That was before all this happened. But we really weren’t that interested at first because there are special permits needed and it was kind of a difficult process.”
But when the coronavirus started to infiltrate the United States, Bassett said the FDA and the Tax and Trade Bureau with the federal government issued special guidelines for them to make hand sanitizer under emergency conditions.
“We have to follow the World Health Organization’s (WHO) formula to the letter,” he said. “Fortunately, it’s more difficult to make alcohol for drinking that it is to make hand sanitizer. Following the formula has not been that difficult, What has been difficult is getting the proper supplies.”
The hand sanitizer is given away. Bassett said that’s the right thing to do.
“And the formula the (WHO) called for … I’ve made it to that standard and that’s what people need to know,” he said. “And that standard does what the (WHO) says it will do.”
You have to come to the Iron Vault Distillery to get it.
“We don’t have the mailing facilities or the boxing,” he explained. “People need to come here. We’re following the Galion Health Department requirements with the social distancing. We only have two people we allow to distribute to the public and we sanitize everything when (the shop) gets empty. If somebody comes in and leaves we sanitize the door handles and everything and we’re even figuring out ways to sanitize (credit and debit) cards before we scan them.
“We’re trying to be prudent there,” he said.
Bassett said the response from the community has been great, as they have been getting calls for requests for more than they can produce.
“A post office in northeast Ohio, hospitals, the highway patrol, fire departments, police stations … all have made requests for our hand sanitizer,” Bassett said, pointing out a large retail store in Ontario said they couldn’t get any for their employees and asked Iron Vault Distillery to bring some over. “It’s just overwhelming.”
Bassett said the distillery is open Tuesday through Thursday 3- 6 p.m. with special hours on Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon for senior citizens and then noon to 8 p.m. for everyone else.
“We’re giving away the 50 millimeter bottles to anybody for no charge,” he said. “We’re asking people to just take one a week. As long as the coronavirus is around we’ll continue to make the hand sanitizer. I have the ability to help and I’m happy to do this.”