On March 18th, The TTB released guidance related to easing of restrictions related the production of hand sanitizer by licensed distilleries typically restricted to only the production of beverage alcohol. Due to an overwhelming demand from the public, and especially first-responders and healthcare workers, Texas distillers immediately started producing sanitizer products based on the WHO formulas for local production. On March 19th, both TXWA and TDSA submitted a joint letter to Gov. Greg Abbott and TDEM Chief Nim Kidd, requesting support to help distillers meet the demand. The letter is copied below.

Dear Governor Abbott,

We are writing on behalf of the distillery members of the Texas Whiskey Association and Texas Distilled Spirits Association who, in response to COVID-19 and in accordance with FDA and TTB guidance, have started producing distilled ethyl-based alcohol solutions for hand and surface sanitizers. Some of our members have converted all of their operations to the production of these sanitizers at the request of local Fire/EMS, front-line healthcare workers and hospitals in desperate need of these products. Some distilleries with industrial distilling operations are producing the products to help bolster retail supply chains, and others are formulating sanitizers according to World Health Organization guidelines for use by the public at large. (https://www.who.int/gpsc/5may/Guide_to_Local_Production.pdf)

Currently our members are working to scale their production in spite of the significant costs being incurred by their businesses. Our members and our organizations have received an extraordinary volume of requests and it is increasing daily. Sourcing of scarce and costly solution ingredients as well as containers, closures and labels has become an immediate concern. Consequently, we are requesting the following actions of support from the state.

  1. 1)  We are seeking support to help these distilleries ramp up production of sanitizers which require additional sourced ingredients, specifically glycerine 98%, 3% hydrogen peroxide, and emollients like aloe gel or powder. Additionally, bulk orders of small containers and closures will be needed for public distribution. We are requesting support in sourcing some of these materials for distribution to our facilities for production.
  2. 2)  We are seeking aid from the state under the COVID-19 public health disaster declaration to help offset the costs incurred by Texas distilled spirits plants for the production of hand and surface sanitizers for use by local first-responders, front-line health organizations and the public at large.

Only a decade ago, Texas did not have a robust distilling industry. Today, we have a significant manufacturing capacity, and our membership within TDSA and all along the four regions of the Texas Whiskey Trail are ready to offer their time, resources and expertise to aid the state in this time of need. We humbly request the state’s support of our collective efforts.

Sincerely yours,

Spencer Whelan
Executive Director — TXWA

Mike Cameron
President — TDSA

Jared Himstedt
President — TXWA