Mount Prospect distillery lends a helping hand to fight COVID-19

  • Aaron Johnson, Two Eagles Distillery business manager, hands a box of hand sanitizer to Mount Prospect Chief of Police John Koziol Saturday.

      Aaron Johnson, Two Eagles Distillery business manager, hands a box of hand sanitizer to Mount Prospect Chief of Police John Koziol Saturday. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Jesse Zien, Two Eagles Distillery operations manager, pours ingredients into what will become hand sanitizer. A year ago, two Eagle Scouts received approval to open in Mount Prospect. They have shifted to making hand sanitizer, raising funds with a GoFundMe page to donate the result to local first responders.

      Jesse Zien, Two Eagles Distillery operations manager, pours ingredients into what will become hand sanitizer. A year ago, two Eagle Scouts received approval to open in Mount Prospect. They have shifted to making hand sanitizer, raising funds with a GoFundMe page to donate the result to local first responders. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Jesse Zien, Aaron Johnson and Matthew Georgacakis-Nurre of Two Eagles Distillery in Mount Prospect are making hand sanitizer to donate to local first responders.

      Jesse Zien, Aaron Johnson and Matthew Georgacakis-Nurre of Two Eagles Distillery in Mount Prospect are making hand sanitizer to donate to local first responders. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • A year ago, two Eagle Scouts received approval to open Two Eagles Distillery in Mount Prospect. Now, they have shifted their focus to making hand sanitizer they are donating to local first responders.

      A year ago, two Eagle Scouts received approval to open Two Eagles Distillery in Mount Prospect. Now, they have shifted their focus to making hand sanitizer they are donating to local first responders. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Matthew Georgacakis-Nurre, Two Eagles Distillery master distiller, stirs up what will become hand sanitizer.

      Matthew Georgacakis-Nurre, Two Eagles Distillery master distiller, stirs up what will become hand sanitizer. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
Updated 3/30/2020 8:05 AM

The Eagle Scout motto, "Be prepared," has particular relevance for one Mount Prospect business.

A little more than a year ago, Mount Prospect granted approval for two Eagle Scouts to open the village's first distillery, dubbed Two Eagles Distillery, at 1852 S. Elmhurst Road.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But Two Eagles had to pivot in response to the coronavirus just as the business was getting poised to begin self-distribution. Now the distillery, as others, is devoting its energies to producing hand sanitizers.

"We had a bunch of vodka sitting here," said Operations Manager Jesse Zien, one of the two Eagle Scouts.

In early March, however, Zien and his partner, Master Distiller Matthew Georgacakis-Nurre of Mount Prospect, sat down and decided to hold off on bottling it.

"We kind of had a feeling that there might be a need for hand sanitizer. We knew that we could make it," Zien said.

Things then began falling into place. The federal government gave the go-ahead to manufacture the product, but only under a specific recipe calling for such ingredients as glycerin, isopropyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide in addition to the high-proof spirits.

The company started a GoFundMe page and within hours, $2,000 in donations poured in. As of Saturday, the tally had reached $18,000.

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Now, the company is rolling out four-ounce bottles and giving it away to first-responders, as well as restaurants, public works facilities and anyone performing essential services. Zien said gallon bottles are on order.

On Monday, Ten Ninety Brewing Co. in Glenview, which has 10 times the capacity of Two Eagles for making fermented spirits, will start fermenting grain and shipping it to the Mount Prospect distillery.

"It's going to give us the ability to really start pumping this stuff out," Zien said.

The manufacturing crew includes the two partners, plus their legal counsel, Agostino Filippone, who also sits on Mount Prospect's planning and zoning commission.

"We are donating all our time to do this and we are making hand sanitizers as fast as we can," Zien said. "Everyone is pitching in. Many hands make light work."

Recipients include Aurora, Des Plaines, Mount Prospect and Wheeling first responders, local restaurants and a home health care provider. Requests have been received from plumbers, sanitation workers and construction workers.

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