Having survived worst of pandemic, spirits high at Sugar House Distillery

Posted at 7:07 AM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-15 09:07:30-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Spirits are high at a Utah producer of distilled spirits as it appears to have survived the worst of the COVID-19 shutdown.

Early on in the pandemic, James Fowler and his team at Sugar House Distillery had to pivot from making small batch vodka, whiskey & rum to making big batches of hand sanitizer.

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

Working with Wasatch brewery, who couldn’t sell much of their beer due to COVID closures, Fowler distilled the brew down to pure alcohol then made hand sanitizer.

They made a lot of it and initially gave most of it away, mainly to frontline workers like police officers, firefighters and hospital workers.

READ: Utah distilleries ask Congress for help ahead of tax increase

Then he secured contracts with a few school districts.

That helped pay the bills and allowed him to keep his staff together to get through the worst of the pandemic.

Now he says things are getting back to normal.

“And so it was really, really important to keep my staff together and here so that they would be with me today,” Fowler said. “Today, it’s been awesome! We’ve got bars and restaurants back open, you know, we’re having sales come back from that. Yes, we’re losing out on the hand sanitizer but definitely I’d rather see us come back around with the bars and restaurants that they are back up and going.“

Fowler says he’s actually looking to expand his production facility and possibly move into a larger building.

He’s also working on distributing his craft spirits into a half dozen different states.

He’s just thrilled they were able to hang on.

On top of all that, Sugar House Distillery is hiring.

Fowler says he’s looking for another experienced distiller to help with the increased production.

For more information on that, click here.