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Tucson brewery halts beer production, starts making hand sanitizer

Posted at 9:42 PM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 09:52:36-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - A brewery in Tucson is halting their production of alcoholic beverages and is producing hand sanitizer amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Thunder Canyon Brewery owner Steve Dracy told KGUN9 he and his staff started making hand sanitizer last week.

“So far we’ve been able to produce about 50 gallons of hand sanitizer," said Dracy.

Dracy said from the moment he and his staff knew they could make hand sanitizer they got right to work, ceasing production of most of their alcoholic beverages.

"We’re following the recipe that the federal government provided," said Dracy.

At Thunder Canyon Brewery, staff use what is called a still to make the alcohol portion of the hand sanitizer.

“In our case we’ve been fermenting sugar, which is what we normally use to make rum and so we ferment that sugar and once it’s done fermenting, the yeast are creating the alcohol and once it’s done, we put that liquid, it’s called wash, in the still," said Dracy, “the way the still works it just kind of brings that to a simmer, that wash simmers in there, and then that alcohol vapor, it’s evaporating and it’s coming up to the top of the still where it then condenses and it comes out as liquid ethanol.”

Dracy added he is partnering with Elgin Winery and Distillery in Elgin, Arizona to produce even more hand sanitizer.

Dracy said he is making hand sanitizer for healthcare workers and first responders, but is selling some to the public as well.

A 16 ounce container of hand sanitizer is about $12.