Whitmeyer’s Distilling Co. used to be in the business of peach whiskey and bourbon, but now it’s dedicated to protecting lives.
The north Harris County distillery recently partnered with Global Healing and Harris County Precinct 4 to deliver thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer to Texas Children’s Hospital and local first responders.
The distillery began making the antibacterial solution in March after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent out a message calling for alcohol makers to help boost the dwindling supply of hand sanitizer. Chris and Travis Whitmeyer, the owners of the distillery, decided to answer the call.
The brothers started by donating a 32-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer to each distillery visitor, but soon expanded their operation after connecting with two important partners. Global Healing donated chemicals like peroxide and glycerol to help the brothers increase production. Harris County Precinct 4 led the delivery of the product and helped identify first responders and school districts in need.
The brothers said they initially planned to produce only 10,000 gallons of hand sanitizer. That was three weeks ago. “Here we are several hundred thousand gallons later,” said Travis.
Since then, production has skyrocketed to about 16 gallons a minute.
“We’ll probably put out 1.5 million gallons by the time this thing is over,” said Chris. “We have about 4,000 households coming through our distillery every day to get their free bottle and that hasn’t slowed down. We’re going to keep doing that.”
More recently, the distillery partnered with Precinct 4 to donate hand sanitizer to the Spring Fire Department and other first responders.
“We donated about 1,500 to 1,600 gallons to the Spring Fire Department, and we’re also going to donate some to the seven (school districts) in Precinct 4,” said Chris.
Although the brothers hope to get back to business as usual, they said they plan to keep producing sanitizer while there is a need.
“It’s really grown beyond anything we ever thought it would be, and we’re happy to keep doing it as long as we can,” said Chris.
Photo: Chris Whitmeyer with Whitmeyer’s Distilling Co. and Julio Torres with Global Healing.