On March 25, Governor Larry Hogan announced that Sagamore Spirit Distillery is producing 54,000 liters of hand sanitizer as part of the growing response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic. Production is underway at the state-of-the-art whiskey distillery in Port Covington, and the team is working aggressively to scale up production.
The nation has seen similar efforts in previous wartimes, when manufacturers rapidly pivot to provide much needed supplies. This includes Maryland’s strong history of whiskey distilling. Before Prohibition, Maryland was home to 44 distilleries, including 22 in downtown Baltimore alone. By the start of World War II in 1939, Maryland held one-third of the nation’s rye whiskey supply and the state was truly a leader in the rye whiskey industry. To support the nation’s war efforts, distilleries began producing ethanol. Now the whiskey industry is once again responding to a global threat – with Sagamore Spirit Distillery leading the way.
The Sagamore Spirit-manufactured hand sanitizer will first be made available to Maryland health providers including Johns Hopkins Medicine, which has been advising them on manufacturing the vital sanitizer to World Health Organization (WHO) and Federal Drug Administration (FDA) standards for safety and efficacy.
Want to help? Sagamore Spirit’s manufacturing capacity could increase significantly. To enable this, Congress needs to temporarily waive an outdated statute during this healthcare crisis that requires the use of denaturants, which the WHO deems unnecessary to manufacture safe and effective hand sanitizer. Sagamore Spirit Distillery has procured enough denaturants to produce the initial 54,000 liter run, but since it is in short supply, their ability to expand to the potential 100,000 liter monthly production level entirely depends on Congress’s willingness to waive the denaturing requirement. Please click here to send a pre-written letter to your elected officials.
There is no higher priority than serving the growing and vital needs for supplies. The entire team at Sagamore Spirit Distillery is prepared to contribute to this global effort.