It's sanitizer instead of spirits at Highwood distillery

  • Matt Greif, left, head distiller, and Eric Falberg, owner of 28 Mile Vodka & Distillery in Highwood, are producing hand sanitizer instead of spirits.

    Matt Greif, left, head distiller, and Eric Falberg, owner of 28 Mile Vodka & Distillery in Highwood, are producing hand sanitizer instead of spirits. Courtesy of Kasey Dunn Morgan

 
 
Updated 3/23/2020 5:40 PM

Another distillery in Lake County has switched gears and is pumping out hand sanitizer rather than spirits.

28 Mile Vodka & Distillery in Highwood, which opened last June, recently began making small amounts of hand sanitizer for its customers.

 

"Just to make them feel better," said owner Eric Falberg.

As concern about the coronavirus intensified, the company began providing bottles to first responders at no charge. The Lake County Sheriff's Office, for example, learned of the availability through word-of-mouth and secured 96 pint-size bottles for its patrol division.

The sheriff's office gave the distiller a shoutout Facebook, citing it as another example of community caring and kindness.

Next, the distillery is escalating production and hopes by the end of the week to produce 700, 16-ounce bottles per hour.

"We're one of the younger (distilleries) but we're built to fight," Falberg said.

28 Mile (a reference of the distance from Highwood to downtown Chicago) joins Copper Fiddle Distillery in Lake Zurich, which on Friday switched its processes to produce hand sanitizer.

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This is possible through a waiver of laws regarding distilled spirits by federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which has authorized distillers to produce ethanol-based sanitizers.

"They gave us the recipe from the World Health Organization and that's what we follow," Falberg said.

Production soon will include gallon jugs, he added. 28 Mile, was which mentioned Sunday by Gov. J.B. Pritzker during his daily coronavirus briefing, will be putting the product on the market at some point.

"There's a lot of people all over who really need it," Falberg said.

The actions will allow the young distillery to stay afloat, provide work for employees and help first responders, he added.

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