Middletown distillery still making the hand sanitizer that helped it through coronavirus limitations

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. As supplies have been improved in retail stores over the past few months, Dranschak and his wife Debbie, have federal permission to continue to produced hand sanitizer through June. 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. As supplies have been improved in retail stores over the past few months, Dranschak and his wife Debbie, have federal permission to continue to produced hand sanitizer through June. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

A local distillery is continuing to manufacture hand sanitizer months after changing its operations to produce the needed commodity that became more important after the coronavirus pandemic began.

Mike and Debbie Dranschak, owners of White Dog Distillery at 1357 Central Ave. in downtown Middletown, found a way to keep their business afloat during the pandemic after the state ordered most services at bars last March by making the sanitizer.

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.

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They sold more than 700 one-half-gallon plastic jugs of hand sanitizer for $17.50 just in the first three days. Debbie Dranschak said AK Steel has been the “biggest customer” and they’re getting requests from other businesses about filing their orders. They also provided various first responders with hand sanitizer.

At times, there would be long lines stretching from Clinton Street to the distillery on Central Avenue with people trying to get some hand sanitizer that contains 96% alcohol.

Debbie Dranschak said sales dropped off in June, but they continued to market their hand sanitizer in personalized bottles for special events such as weddings, funerals, business meetings, school reunions, baby showers, etc. She said Digital Visuals on Clinton Street made her labels for the hand sanitizer.

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“We have plenty of hand sanitizer available and there are no limits,” she said.

She said bar sales are down, but they are selling their liquor at various liquor stores in the region. They, like other business that serve alcohol, say they have been affected by state orders first setting a 10 p.m. last call for alcohol and then setting a 10 p.m. curfew throughout the state.

“We’re doing a decent amount of business, but we’re losing some to the curfew,” Mike Dranschak said. “Selling the hand sanitizer helped us stay in business.”

He said the federal government has given its permission for the distillery to continue making the hand sanitizer until June. The distillery is still supplying hand sanitizer for various private schools and businesses in the Greater Cincinnati area.

A new patio will open this spring at the distillery as the couple continues to focus on the other side of their business as well.

He said the distillery produces vodka, rum, gin and other spirits that are sold in 15 liquor stores in the region.

“We hope to have a new bourbon for the new year,” Mike Dranschak said.

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