Lewis County distillery producing hand sanitizer during coronavirus pandemic


WESTON, W.Va. – MannCave Distillery has been open just outside of Jackson’s Mill for a little more than a year, making four different spirits sold around the local area. But as the coronavirus pandemic advanced in recent months, owner Stephen Mann said he was contacted about making a new product: hand sanitizer.

“Started getting phone calls. First one I got was a supplier for an NIH warehouse up in Maryland, it called me and I said, I really don’t want to get into that because it’s a whole different government agency I had to deal with, it’s the FDA. They’re very stringent of everything and the paperwork through that’s a nightmare. So I really didn’t think too much about it,” Mann said.

But the calls kept coming, so Mann decided he’d dive in. The first challenge was getting the appropriate approvals from federal agencies, the second was getting a system in place to produce, which is turning out to be easier said than done.

“We have a bottling system that handles round bottles. We couldn’t buy round bottles because they were out of stock. So we’re just stuck with square bottles and we’ll be labeling all those by hand,” said Mann.

The distillery is taking orders for its first run of sanitizer on its website, and will start production as soon as all the materials arrive. Mann still has plans for the distillery to return to normal, but sees this new line going on, too.

“As far as in the future, we’ll probably continue to make hand sanitizer. Once we start something, why stop. We’re just going to get all the rest of the approvals for after the pandemic is over and we’ll continue to make it. We can probably turn out a couple thousand a week,” said Mann.

MannCave Distillery has placed a Google document on its site where people can put in a request to purchase the sanitizer when it is available.

According to the company’s website, the initial hand sanitizer bottle run will be 10,000 8-ounce bottles selling for $8 each and 1,300 32-ounce bottles selling for $30 each.

The company stated it will have ongoing production after this initial run, and it may introduce more bottle sizes based on the availability of bottles.

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