Black Bear Brewing Company making hand sanitizer to fight pandemic

Bright Spot

MADISON, Ala. – Old Black Bear Brewing Company is temporarily shifting its focus from craft beer and joining the fight against the spread of COVID-19. They’re now making hand sanitizer, something the nation has seen a shortage of.

“We feel like there’s a obligation for us to give back to the community. Especially because of the support that we’ve gotten over the last four years of being in downtown Madison,” said owner Todd Seaton.

Owner Todd Seaton says on site sales from their restaurant and taproom are down 70-75% so this is giving them purpose.

“This is also another way to keep quite a few of our employees on staff working. While it’s not really drawing a profit right now it’s at least keeping those people employed to where they can keep paying their bills,” said Seaton.

Seaton says the hand sanitizers are made bottled and labeled at Black Bear Brewery in Madison.

“We were really set up pretty easily to be able to convert. We took our still apart, and made a makeshift mixing drum to mix everything together. We get the industrial alcohol, mix it with what’s essentially vegetable glycerin for moisturizer, add fragrances that’s pretty much it,” said Seaton.

He says they aren’t turning a profit from this production yet.

“We are hoping to recoup, all the costs that we’ve put into the research and development to get the product out in about another two weeks,” said Seaton.

The initial production of hand sanitizer will be produced in bulk for large Alabama operations including civic agencies, the medical community and large businesses

“There’s a lot, there’s a lot of factories that still have to keep their workers healthy, and we’re going to focus on providing them with half gallon to five gallon drums, just to keep them going,” said Seaton.

They are hoping to eventually have flexibility to do non-profit donations but its not possible right now.

“We do have a couple of bottles that we, we will offer people if they buy food curbside. Ace Hardware just picked up the product so it’s going to be available in their stores starting tomorrow,” said Seaton.

Black Bear is not selling bottles on location. They say they will continue with production as supplies allow and try to keep up with demands.

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