Kirkwood Winery making moonshine hand sanitizer for first responders and hospital employees

SUMMERSVILLE, WV (WOAY) – Kirkwood Winery in Summersville has its doors closed to the public but their employees are still hard at work especially their distillers who work at their Isaiah Morgan Distillery, part of the Kirkwood brand. 

“Three ounces of distilled water,” Mark, one distiller, said as he called out ingredients. “One tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide.”

“Twelve ounces of alcohol,” head distiller Christopher said. “And two teaspoons of the glycerin.”

No, they’re not making a new kind of moonshine, but they are using their corn whiskey to create a much-needed product during this time: moonshine hand sanitizer.

Since making the announcement on social media, their phones have been ringing off the hook to get it by the gallon, so right now, because supplies are running low, the priority is getting it to those who need it most.

“Our main objective right now is to supply the first responders and some hospitals and caregivers, and then we’ll venture out into giving it to the general public,” Frank Dix, one of the co-owners, said. 

Although making hand sanitizer was never originally on the job description, a window opened when the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau allowed for distilleries to start doing so.

It requires the alcohol to be 60% which is easy for a distillery specializing in a strong product. 

“And that’s where this all started,” Elizabeth Dix, a co-owner, said. “Thankfully, the TTB has relaxed their rules, and I’m sure when this is all over and we want to continue making hand sanitizer, we’ll have to go through the formal processes.” 

But for now, it is all about keeping their workers employed and doing their part to help the community, one bottle at a time. 

“We’re all in this together. It’s very important for us to help out a little and make sure we try to contain this disease,” Frank said. 

Because of the overwhelming volume of calls, the Dix family has asked that members of the general public hold off on their requests for the time being while they take care of first responders.

Follow their Facebook page for updates on when they will start serving the public.

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Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.