Clarksville distilling company replaces spirits production with hand sanitizer

The Old Glory Distilling Co. temporarily gave up its production of its bourbon whiskey to create a special blend of ingredients to bottle hand sanitizer.

Following an increased number of COVID-19 cases in Tennessee, Old Glory owner Matt Cunningham said he patterned his plans after fellow distillers who began their production.

Word spread last week of Cunningham’s plans, which have now ramped up into a much larger production to fill the needs of several groups.

“[We received] a lot of inquiries from government agencies, nonprofits and medical clinics who are close to being out of this product,” Cunningham said. “At first, we planned to provide it to people on an individual basis, but it’s growing into something much larger than that.”

Cunningham said he had first planned to produce about 1,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, but the company currently looks to gather empty bottles to fill other requested needs.

Following guidelines of the Food and Drug Administration, Old Glory is required to place the product in new bottles.

“We cannot refill old bottles, which people have asked,” Cunningham said. “We have to use only the new bottles.”

Additional area companies also got involved in the production to help Old Glory Distilling Co. successfully meet demands for the hand sanitizer.

Akebono Brake Corp. in Clarksville donated some of their spray bottles, according to Cunningham.

“They had a supply of them that they used for cleaning,” Cunningham said. “They donated what they had on hand to help us out.”

D&D Co. helped with the cost to buy a more pocket-sized bottle, according to Cunningham.

Distilleries across the United States are friendly with each other and recently began coming up with the plans to produce the hand sanitizer made from a specifically approved formula in line with the World Health Organization’s guidelines, according to Cunningham.

“We generally make around a barrel a day of Tennessee Bourbon Whiskey,” Cunningham said. “We’ve completely stopped that in order to focus all of our efforts to this.”

Cunningham said the product cannot be shipped, so the distribution will have to be done by pick-up methods only through its gift shop, though there is consideration in the works to use a distributor. The company continues to work on those details, he said.

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