EXCLUSIVE: Virginia Distillery Develops Hand Sanitizer To Fill Shortages For First Responders

Silverback Distillery/Daily Caller

Caitlin McFall Video Journalist
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A Virginia distillery has been manufacturing hand sanitizer to give to first responders leading the coronavirus relief efforts.

“When we realized things were going to start getting bad here, I was in the middle of cooking some whiskey, and that’s when we switched, that day,” explained Christine Riggleman, CEO and master distiller of Silverback Distillery, who has started producing hand sanitizer instead of spirits. “I had a couple people that said, ‘I’m having trouble finding hand sanitizer’ … so I made a batch for them and my staff. And we had customers at the bar going ‘Oh, I want to buy some from you.'”

Riggleman then started bottling and handing out hand sanitizer to first responders.

“But, oh my gosh, it was overwhelming,” she said in an interview with the Daily Caller.

From there, she started a GoFundMe to help sponsor the supplies that were needed to get the sanitizer in the hands of first responders, policemen, truck drivers and even dairy farmers – all people who are keeping Americans protected and fed during this time of crisis.

Soon she will be selling the product as a means to keep up with the demand.

Riggleman describes how difficult this time has been for her small, family-run business — a trend that virtually all small businesses in the U.S. are experiencing.

“My husband and I are being creative and we’re maxing out every loan we have in trying to keep the payroll paid and the lights on,” said Riggleman. She explained that the aid coming from Congress for small businesses is helpful, but the website is inundated with requests, so the biggest challenge is actually getting her forms submitted.

“I’m pushing boundaries that I haven’t done either,” she explained.

Wanting to avoid wasting its product, a Virginia-based winery donated “totes” of wine to the distillery due to their inability to finish developing the wine to fruition. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Economic Policy Expert Says Stimulus Package ‘Misses The Mark’ On Small Business Aid)

“So, I’m going to re-distill wine into a distillate that I can use and get to a high enough proof so that I can make the hand sanitizer with it,” she said. “This is the skill set we have and this is something we can give back and try and help.”

Tune in to hear more about Christine Riggleman’s efforts to get hand sanitizer to the public.