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Veterans turn their TX whiskey distillery into hand sanitizer operation, donate thousands of gallons

Family-owned business has hired 80 furloughed employees

HOUSTON – The owners of Whitmeyer’s Distilling Co. in Houston aren’t just brothers, they’re Army combat veterans who have turned their whiskey distillery into a hand-sanitizer operation. To date, they have donated over 25,000 gallons of hand sanitizer.

Travis and Chris Whitmeyer were concerned they might have to lay off employees after the coronavirus pandemic shut down the distillery tasting room, which accounts for roughly 30% of the business, but they’re going stronger than ever.

“We then received word from our various trade organizations that the federal government had loosened restrictions of hand sanitizer production under the defense production act,” Travis said. “A couple days later, Texas Children’s Hospital asked if we could produce 6,100 gallons of hand sanitizer to hold them over for six months.”

Rebecca Creek Distillery donating hand sanitizer to first responders

The brothers decided to make the switch from whiskey to hand sanitizer and donated all 6,100 gallons to the hospital.

“This was of personal significance to our family. Texas Children’s literally saved my niece’s life. This was an opportunity for us to repay that," Travis told KSAT.

The Whitmeyer’s to date have donated 25,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, have kept all their employees in addition to raising their wages and have added 80 additional employees, “most of whom are furloughed bar and restaurant staff.”

Whitmeyer's Distilling Co. in North Harris County produces hand sanitizer around the clock in the effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Whitmeyer's Distilling Co. in North Harris County produces hand sanitizer around the clock in the effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. (© 2020 Joe Buvid Photography)

If you’re in need of hand sanitizer in the Houston area, Whitmeyer’s Distilling hosts a drive-thru where people can get a free 32 oz. bottle. The drive-thru, located at the distillery tasting room at 16711 Hollister Street, has a one bottle per car limit.

The distillery’s Facebook page posts updates on hand sanitizer giveaways daily.

“As currently constructed, we can produce up to 20,000 gallons every 24 hours” Travis said.

The Whitmeyer’s currently receive orders for hand sanitizer “from various industry and government organizations which has allowed us to continue donations, keep our lights on and add a bunch of jobs.”

Whitmeyer’s Hand Sanitizer is a registered product with the FDA and uses an FDA-approved formula, according to the distillery’s Facebook page.

For organizations needing bulk quantities, please contact kelser@whitmeyers.com for ordering information. There is a 25 Gallon Minimum Order.


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