Portland distillery gets into the hand sanitizer game

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One of the early byproducts of the distilling process is pure alcohol that’s undrinkable. Shine Distillery and Grill in Portland, Oregon, has been using that alcohol to make cleaning products, and recently, since the start of the hand sanitizer shortage related to the COVID-19 epidemic, its own homemade Purell. Shine’s sanitizer is 80 percent alcohol combined with xanthan gum and water.

Last week, owner Jon Poteet told KPTV, a customer asked if she could have some sanitizer since the product was nearly impossible to find in local stores. Rubbing alcohol, a key component in DIY sanitizer, has also disappeared from shelves. Poteet checked with authorities and learned that as long as he wasn’t making any medical claims or selling it, he was allowed to give it away. And so he has.


“Ultimately, I’m part of the community,” he said. “I want my friends and neighbors to be happy and healthy. All my neighbors getting sick and going down doesn’t do me any good. I want to be in a healthy community, and it feels good to be able to give back.”

And, yes, Poteet is aware that good old soap and water are still the best preventative for spreading germs. In Shine’s bathroom, he’s posted 20-second snippets of song lyrics that patrons can sing as they scrub.