Valentine Distilling & Griffin Claw Step Up to Manufacture Sanitizer

Valentine Distilling & Griffin Claw Step Up to Manufacture Sanitizer

Ferndale, MI — Michiganders are known for our grit, toughness, and dedication to persevering. This is not the first time the nation has turned to Detroit to keep the momentum going. When Detroit was dubbed the Arsenal of Democracy during World War II, the manufacturing mecca in Michigan turned its attention from motorizing our citizenry to motorizing our military. Now, America has once again fired off a distress signal.

The latest fight that we’re gearing up for is unlike anything we’ve ever seen: COVID-19. Griffin Claw Brewing Company began its initiative to self-produce hand sanitizer earlier this week, as the need for the product became critical both locally and nationally. But to meet demand, the two Michigan-based spirits producers, Griffin Claw Brewing Company and Valentine Distilling Co., have teamed up to manufacture scaled quantities of hand sanitizer.

“Griffin Claw has orders rolling in for sanitizer product,” said Rifino Valentine, Founder of Valentine Distilling Co. “We figured we would help supply them with alcohol to continue and increase production of the product.”

Michigan officials announced Thursday that licensed distilleries in the state are now permitted to produce ethanol-based hand sanitizers in order to help meet demand of the products.  Distillers will be permitted to do so without the usual required permit through June 30. This could be extended if necessary.

Also, recently, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau relaxed regulations to allow beverage distillers to make denatured alcohol. The production is not normally permitted unless a distillery has an industrial manufacturing permit.

Distillers may manufacture sanitizer products that are comprised of denatured or undenatured ethanol, glycerol (not less than 1.45 percent of the finished hand sanitizer product on a volume basis) and hydrogen peroxide (not less than 0.125 percent of the finished hand sanitizer product on a volume basis.)

Valentine Distilling Co. sources its products for its internationally known “World’s Best” vodka and other award-winning spirits locally. Making the hand sanitizer is no different as this partnership brings together two Michigan businesses supporting health organizations and communities for the greater good.

Just last year, Valentine Distilling Co. announced a $500,000 sustainability initiative, “to do the right thing,” said Valentine. The operational pivot to help support our Michigan community and country through the current COVID-19 crisis aligns with that initiative by supporting the continuation and sustaining manufacturing in the U.S.  While many small businesses close their doors amid COVID-19, Valentine Distilling Co. and Griffin Claw Brewing Company are making quick decisions to adapt to the current environment and choosing to keep manufacturing at the forefront to keep workers working.

“From my perspective, this is simply an investment to do the right thing,” commented Valentine.

“So far, Griffin Claw Brewing Company has bottled 3,000 2-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer with plans to bottle 5,000 more in the coming days,” said Christopher Lasher, marketing director for the brewer. “We have a staff that’s more than willing to work around the clock to get this done.”

In addition to the 2-ounce spray bottles, Griffin Claw has been filling bulk containers for the State of Michigan Emergency Operations Center who will distribute the product throughout the state to first responders and medical personnel.  They’ve also helped out locally with the Birmingham Police and Fire Departments along with the Detroit Police Department and local food banks.

“We’ve received such an influx of requests since we started, from government to nursing homes and hospitals, everybody’s in need, so that’s where we joined forces with our friends over at Valentine to really ramp up production,” said Lasher. Together, the two distilleries hope to be able to help alleviate the sanitizer shortages amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.

Valentine Distilling Co. has gone so far to voluntarily pause its spirits production to utilize its manufacturing facility to make the base required to produce the sanitizer. Valentine’s goal is to produce scalable quantities of the product to help medical professionals and those that need this product most amid the COVID-19 outbreak. But there is one main challenge facing these alcohol manufacturers: they are running out of materials to package the product.

On March 20, as part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ongoing commitment to address the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the agency issued two guidance documents to communicate its policy for the temporary manufacture of certain alcohol-based hand sanitizer products. The guidance Temporary Policy for Preparation of Certain Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Products During the Public Health Emergency (COVID-19), is immediately in effect and outlines that the agency does not intend to take action against manufacturing firms that prepare alcohol-based hand sanitizers for consumer use and for use as health care personnel hand rubs during this ongoing public health emergency as described in the guidance.

In the tradition of Detroit’s manufacturing leadership, Michigan-based Valentine Distilling Co. is dedicated to American ingenuity and quality manufacturing as an American pioneer of small batch spirits. The company’s award-winning vodka, gin, and bourbon are available throughout in 12 states the United States and in six other countries.


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