The once crowded and buzzing bar inside Acre Distilling may be empty at present due to restrictions due to COVID-19, but there’s plenty of work being done.
The workload is so much so that the distillery needed to hire eight formerly unemployed restaurant workers. They are making more than just alcohol, though.
Last month, the distillery in Fort Worth began self-producing hand sanitizer and disinfectant sprays. Special chemical properties in alcohol sanitizers are known to effectively kill a wide variety of microbes and viruses.
“As a distillery, we had most of the components for producing hand sanitizer, but the first batch was a bit rough,” Acre Distilling’s owner Tony Formby said.
The products were initially used for cleaning purposes inside the distillery. Some were handed out to patrons and some were donated.
When Ricca Chemical, a chemical company based in Arlington, they offered to assist in supplying the ingredients needed to produce hand sanitizer.
Ricca Chemical, founded 40 years ago, produces various chemicals, analytical solutions and standards for industries such as biotech, pharmaceutical, biofuel and electronics among others. In total, the company has more than 15,000 products.
“With their expertise in producing mass quantities of FDA-grade chemicals, Acre knew that partnering with Ricca would make a more significant impact on our ability to produce high-quality hand sanitizer for the Fort Worth community,” Formby said.
A partnership with the chemical company also enabled Acre Distillery to escalate and expand its sanitizer production.
As a result, more than 1,000 gallons of hand sanitizer – which is now called Acre Hand Elixir – has been sold or donated to essential workers, those directly affected by the COVID-19 crisis, and customers of Acre Distilling.
Nonprofit causes like Meals on Wheels as well as Fort Worth’s police and fire departments has received the hand sanitizer as donation.
A Fort Worth-native doctor fighting COVID-19 in New York City also received a shipment of Acre Hand Elixir.
Other organizations who’ve received donated Acre Hand Elixir include: the Ronald McDonald House, the medical from Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth who recently headed to New York to help out, local restaurants and coffee shops who are still operating for the public, a local weekly food drive supporting recently laid off restaurant workers, as well as individual healthcare providers and first responders.
The employees at Acre Distilling are filling and sticking labels on four- and eight-ounce bottles of the hand sanitizer. The plan is to produce approximately 1,000 bottles a day.
The distillery is currently taking large quantity orders of Acre Hand Elixir for individuals and businesses.
“As a business owner, it was difficult to close our doors but it was just as heartbreaking to see those on our frontlines go without the most basic of supplies,” Formby said.