BIGFORK — A Bigfork skincare company and a local distillery have teamed up to give back to their community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whistling Andy Distillery and The Good Stuff Botanicals teamed up to create hand sanitizer for their community.
The Good Stuff Botanicals co-owner Michael Johnson says the organic skincare company was motivated by the desperate need for sanitizer.
"We found a need in the community for sanitizers so we joined up with Whistling Andy and started a business I believe in less than a week," said Johnson. "And we had the bottles and labels and they had the facility and the alcohol and it was a perfect match."
He told MTN News that what sets their hand sanitizer apart from others is that it's a spray bottle, "it'll last longer than some of the gels that you'll find in most of the stores."
Gabe Spencer is the head distiller with Whistling Andy Distillery and told MTN exactly what their product is made of.
"We use ethanol alcohol which is basically the base for our gins, our vodka, our whiskey," said Spencer. "So, we'll essentially mill grain, we'll cook and ferment the grain on site and then we distill it to one hundred and ninety proof. So, essentially we're making a high proof spirit, a vodka a neutral spirit."
Johnson explained to MTN News that their hand sanitizer is made with food-grade alcohol, but should not be consumed.
Spencer added that they follow strict guidelines to create the product, "based on the World Health Organization and FDA formula we add all the other ingredients with ethanol alcohol, the peroxide, the glycerol and the boiling water," he said.
Spencer says that he applied for an innovation grant and received $5,000 in funding all of which goes to making this hand sanitizer. The money comes from the CARES act through the COVID-19 relief fund.
Both Johnson and Spencer say it's meant the world to them to give back.
"Donating it to different police departments, to different hospitals in Montana. It's an awesome feeling," Spencer said. "There wasn't a day where we thought we would be making a product that a hospital would be using."
Spencer says that Whistling Andy and The Good Stuff Botanicals will continue making and selling the hand sanitizer until the end of 2020.