That’s the spirit! Woody Creek Distillers shifts focus to sanitizer during crisis |

That’s the spirit! Woody Creek Distillers shifts focus to sanitizer during crisis

A member of the Woody Creek Distillers team mixes sanitizer at the company's plant in Basalt. The sanitizer is being given to first responders and essential service providers in the Aspen area.
Woody Creek Distillers/courtesy photo

Woody Creek Distillers whipped up a new concoction that is proving as popular as its vodka, gin and bourbon.

The distillery in Basalt made its first batch of sanitizer about 10 days ago.

“We’re using the World Health Organization recipe,” distillery operating partner Mark Kleckner. That recipe features 190-proof alcohol and glycerin.

Sanitizer has been difficult to find at times this month because of the spread and threat of the coronavirus. Distilleries have jumped in to fill the void.

“In the last week it’s gone nationwide,” Kleckner said last week.

The transition from spirits to sanitizer wasn’t all that complicated, he said. The crew is ahead in distilling duties so they switched over to sanitizer. It’s about five days from raw materials to finished product, including three days fermentation, one day of distilling and one day of mixing.

“The biggest challenge is getting vessels,” Kleckner said.

The distillery replaced its vodka bottles some time ago, so it is replacing the old leftovers. Woody Creek Distillers has already distributed close to 2,000 1-liter bottles of sanitizer.

“The vast majority of it is being donated to first responders, health care workers and essential businesses,” Kleckner said. “Pretty much all the people who are taking care of us.”

Pat Scanlan, a partner in the distillery, has personally delivered sanitizer to the fire and police departments in Aspen.

Connie Baker at the Marble Distilling Co. told the Glenwood Springs Post Independent earlier this month that the “biggest hiccup” in the hand sanitizer business is finding bottles. They’ve been able to produce sanitizer at their Carbondale facility.

Kleckner is exploring with law enforcement officials a way to give sanitizer away to the public without creating a line of people violating the social-distancing requirements. Details will be forthcoming if that can be worked out.

The distillery plans to keep making sanitizer as long as there is a need, and it will give it away.

“We’re not trying to make a profit on this,” Kleckner said.