NewsLocal News


Two Utah businesses work together to turn expiring beer into hand sanitizer

Posted at 5:02 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 19:02:36-04

Two Utah businesses that specialize in making adult beverages are now teaming up to make a liquid to help everyone, especially first responders during the current pandemic.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going, right?

Well, times are definitely tough right now so a couple of local businesses are teaming up to make hand sanitizer to help those on the front lines who are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

This morning, a truck from the Utah Brewers Cooperative, comprised of Squatters and Wasatch Brewery’s, began delivering hundreds of gallons of high alcohol beer here, at Sugar House Distillery.

Due to restaurants and bars being closed because of the pandemic, these suds were just sitting in a warehouse and about to go bad.

The brewery folks don’t have the ability to make hand sanitizer and didn’t want the beer to simply go to waste, so they called their buddy James Fowler at Sugarhouse Distillery.

“We wracked our brains for partners that we love working with, that are able to create hand sanitizer right now,” Caitlin Gold with Utah Brewers Cooperative said.

Fowler’s stills have also been quiet due to the pandemic but they do have the ability to make hand sanitizer.

James has already been doing that for the past few weeks, but a couple of the key ingredients involved in the process, corn and especially sugar, had become scarce and expensive.

“You go to Costco, there’s a one bag limit, you go to the restaurant supply store and there’s a one bag limit,” Fowler said. “So this batch of bad brew turned out to be a blessing in disguise for everyone.”

Today’s delivery is 220 kegs which is roughly 3700 gallons of 8% beer.

James and his master distiller will spend the next few days boiling that down and refining it and say they’ll wind up with about 1300 gallons of hand sanitizer.

That may sound like a lot but James says it’s essentially a drop in the bucket for what’s needed and that most of it will go to first responders in our community.

He is making some available to the public. While it lasts, you can come down and get a free 4-ounce bottle with the option of purchasing a second one.

Both Sugarhouse Distillery and the Utah Brewers Cooperative say they’ll keep this going for the foreseeable future because there’s more beer sitting in the warehouse and no end in sight yet to the COVID-19 pandemic.