Breaking News

Road to close for months during roundabout construction at notable intersection

X

Living through coronavirus: Middletown distillery shifts to hand sanitizer, ‘overwhelmed’ by sales

Mike Dranschak puts labels on half gallon jugs that will be filled with hand sanitizer at his Central Avenue business, White Dog Distilling Company, Monday, March 30, 2020 in Middletown. Dranschak has switched from making his usual vodka, rum, gin and agave spirits to producing hand sanitizer during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The line in front of his business has extended down the street every day since they started selling the sanitizer. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Mike Dranschak puts labels on half gallon jugs that will be filled with hand sanitizer at his Central Avenue business, White Dog Distilling Company, Monday, March 30, 2020 in Middletown. Dranschak has switched from making his usual vodka, rum, gin and agave spirits to producing hand sanitizer during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The line in front of his business has extended down the street every day since they started selling the sanitizer. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

When Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine closed the bars earlier this month to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, a West Chester Twp. couple knew they had to shift their business model.

Mike and Debbie Dranschak opened White Dog Distilling Company on Central Avenue in Middletown 16 months ago and they realized the retail bottle liquor business wouldn’t be enough to keep them open.

MORE CORONAVIRUS: Third person in Hamilton tests positive for coronavirus

“We got worried how are we going to survive like everybody else,” Debbie Dranschak said. “We didn’t want to fall through the cracks.”

Exactly the opposite has happened.

The Dranschaks followed the formula specifications from the World Health Organization and started bottling hand sanitizer that contains ethyl alcohol, pure glycerin, hydrogen peroxide and water.

“This is keeping us going so we don’t lose everything,” she said. “We can breathe a little bit. Now we have hope.”

MORE CORONAVIRUS: Living through coronavirus: Family makes special 8th birthday changes for Butler County boy

In the first three days, they sold more than 700 one-half-gallon plastic jugs of hand sanitizer for $17.50. She said AK Steel has been the “biggest customer” and they’re getting requests from other businesses about filing their orders.

Jeff Payne, executive director of Downtown Middletown Inc., applauded the Dranschaks for “being flexible and filling a need.”

A line of customers stretched outside White Dog Distilling and down Central Avenue Saturday and Sunday. At times they’ve been unable to keep up with the “overwhelming” demand, she said. When they sold out Friday, she went outside and took orders from those in line. They restocked that night and Saturday morning and called those customers back and had them pick up the sanitizer at the back door.

They limited the sanitizer to two bottles per customer. Now it’s one per customer. They started getting calls for orders this week at 6 a.m. Monday.

She described customers as “desperate and scared” and said she hates the look on their faces when she tells them to come back later because the sanitizer is sold out.

Another downtown Middletown business has helped White Dog’s success, she said. Digital Visuals Inc. makes the labels for the sanitizer bottles and when they ran out Saturday, she called and ordered more and it was filled Sunday.

TELLING YOUR STORIES

We’re looking to profile people throughout our coverage area about how the coronavirus is impacting your daily life. If you’re interested in sharing your story about how you’re affected or adapting to the situation, call Journal-News reporter Rick McCrabb at 513-483-5216 or email rick.mccrabb@coxinc.com.

HOW TO GO:

WHAT: White Dog Distilling Co.

WHERE: 1357 Central Ave., Middletown

HOURS: 4-8 p.m. Thursday-Monday

CONTACT: 513-800-3411