Tito's Vodka, other distilleries making hand sanitizer for coronavirus crisis

No, you still can't drink it, but many spirits companies are jumping on board.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, generational studies. Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper

Just two weeks ago, Tito's Vodka was warning fans not to use the booze as hand sanitizer, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. That's because it only contains 40% alcohol, while the CDC says hand sanitizer needs 60%. But on Monday, a representative for the Austin, Texas-based company said Tito's will be making and distributing at least 24 tons of actual hand sanitizer -- and giving it away.


Don't drink it, but Tito's Vodka is just one of many distilleries turning to hand-sanitizer production.

Courtesy: Tito's Vodka

"Details are still being ironed out, but this hand sanitizer will be given out for free to the community and to those who are most in need," the statement said.

On March 18, the US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau announced that companies with permits to distill spirits can immediately begin producing ethanol-based hand sanitizer. 

Other companies that have announced plans to make sanitizer include brewing giant Anheuser-Busch. "We have a long history of supporting our communities and employees --  this time is no different," the company said on Twitter Saturday. 

Other distilleries now making hand sanitizer include Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co.; Old Forester and Woodford Reserve in Kentucky; Caledonia Spirits in Vermont; and Pernod Ricard USA, which has multiple US locations and makes Absolut Vodka, Kahlua and other products.

Coronavirus in pictures: Scenes from around the world

See all photos