Portland distillery gets into the hand sanitizer game

Illustration for article titled Portland distillery gets into the hand sanitizer game
Photo: Zephyr18 (iStock)

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.

Associate editor of The Takeout. Chicagoan. Owned by dog.


Lord of the Ducks

For fuck’s sake, use the WHO’s recipe.

Xantum gum is a bad idea for this unless combine with some kind of emoliant. It isn’t going to do anything to help stop the alcohol from drying out your hands and could do more harm than good. Glycerol is the preferred option.

If you are doing a DIY hand sanitizer, proper disinfection of your equipment and containers is important as alcohol won’t kill everything (that’s why the WHO version uses H2O2 in the production process) and you need to give the bottled sanitizer a 72hr quarantine to ensure everything in it is dead.